Monday, May 23, 2011

Still thinking...

This was Ameneh Bahrami in 2004. She refused marriage proposals from a fellow student who then stalked her for two years before pouring a bucket of acid over her head resulting in horrific disfigurement and total blindness. Her life had, in her own words, been ruined.

He was convicted of the crime and she was consulted regarding the punishment which, to her, was for both of his eyes to suffer the same fate as hers. She even offered to pour the acid herself but later consented to having doctors carry out the sentence...a reduced sentence (against her will) of the loss of just one eye. The reduced sentence was because women in Iran are considered only half the worth of men.

The sentence should have been carried out on the 14th May but has been postponed indefinitely because of international human rights pressure. I also read that two million euro is being considered by her in order to change her mind regarding the punishment.

In 2002 Bangladesh brought in the death penalty for the same type of crime and introduced strict laws regarding the sale of acids. Apparently the law is rarely enforced.

My view is that where there is a given law and a punishment attached, it should be enforced without question, regardless of how barbaric it may be perceived by other cultures. If it's the law of the land then the law must stand in that land until changed.

For certain crimes in the USA, a life sentence means a life sentence although the death penalty is rarely carried out before the passage of...a lifetime. Even then, it is often commuted to life imprisonment.

In the UK, a life sentence is a joke in terms of justice. It probably represents enough time inside to obtain a degree or pursue a career path after leisurely consultation...all free of taxes, fees or stress. In other words, you can maim or murder and be assured of a roof over your head, warmth, a good education, counselling and regularly fed...all for free. You may even want to write a book or two. Soon there may be the added bonus of being able to vote and enjoy even greater freedom. For many, the incentive is greater to be inside than out. During this time, your victim is often lifeless and their family and friends going through endless torment and living hell.

Christine's view...lock em up and throw away the key.
Karen's view...she'll have to remind me, but I think it was a little more Christian.
My darn hard to help change our pathetic laws and, once they are updated to favour the victim as opposed to the criminal, stick with the penalty given without the farce of reduced sentences through good behaviour via greedy, mealy-mouthed lawyers bent on making a quid or two.

Prevention is the key, as prison is expensive and does little or nothing to rehabilitate or change behaviour if surveys and studies are to be believed.   Turn the issue of prevention over to the private sector perhaps and allow them to utilise seized assets of all criminal activities along with other financial government incentives, based on results. Allow government to introduce legislation that may be contributing to criminal and violent behaviour...TV content,  violent games etc! The whole picture needs to be viewed from every angle with international support if necessary. Those in authority need to be more authoritative than authoritarian, and to get a grip on things. 

I speak as a tired Englishman who hasn't entirely lost hope of a solution, but is sickened by the way in which British justice is floundering.

I'm unsure about the criminally insane...perhaps a lethal injection if there is no hope...just not sure.

I also think that many officials involved with Human Rights are over-stretching themselves to the point of ridicule...perhaps a lethal injection for them too...if there is no hope:)

Well, well, well...we've just turned the news on and the topic is Human Rights.

I'm not against human rights, so long as there is balance and that the rights of victims are upheld above all else.

For me, more justice than vengeance. Surely there is no place for an eye for an eye mentality?



  1. This is intense and thought provoking. Certainly a topic often discussed and debated in our family too.
    Everything you have said here sounds familiar. In my country, life sentences usually end at fourteen or fifteen years in prison in most cases. Reformation rarely takes place for younger criminals, they become hardened and often continue where they left off. One may come to their defence saying that society doesn't accept them or give them a second chance...but as a member of the said group...I would be guilty of the same distrust.

    I recall an instance when I was with an organization working for women's welfare. Some prostitutes had been rescued from a brothel and put up in a safe shelter, before they could be rehabilitated. It was practically impossible to reinstate them in society with their former dignity and respect. Their families disowned them, fearing social ostracization, no one wanted to employ them. One of the ladies suggested we employ them as maids, since we all have maids in our employ it would be a good start. None of us was eager. Neither the lady herself.
    It's a tough call, but what one asks for is justice. But what is justice? Is it an eye for an eye? According to Gandhi, if we take an eye for an eye, soon the whole world will be blind.

    When one is wronged justice calls for the harshest sentence, according to the crime. At times Human Rights groups and even the law do seem to be one sided in their demands for leniency for the you rightly say, what about the rights of the victim?
    Tough one!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Joy...and I've learned a little more about you.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that the wrong people are making the decisions. I also get the impression that we'll probably live and die without significant progress.

  3. Having read this post few days back, I have been thinking & remain in total agreement "so long as there is balance and that the rights of victims are upheld above all"

  4. I can't imagine how that woman suffered during the attack and all of the pain she will endure through life. Ken, it is unacceptable that victims' perspective and rights are often overshadowed by the coldness of ineffective legal systems.

  5. Hi Raj
    Sadly, there is seldom balance and justice for victims.

    Hi Kelly
    Why is it that the law-makers and enforcers don't wear the same specs as us?