“The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading. Amnesty opposes the death penalty at all times – regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.”
Human beings are capable of doing things which Lucifer himself would dear not think of, yet we find around the globe fewer and fewer people are being hanged. As I am writing these lines there is news on television “after weeks of manhunt and DNA tests a man has been arrested in Qasoor.” (Qasoor is a city of Pakistan near Lahore) The man is accused of kidnapping, sexually harassing and suffocating his eight year old next door neighbor”. She was the 10th child prey of this human looking and religiously devout beast. I know capital execution is not the answer but which prison or island should such beasts be sent to? And, who is going to pay for this? The taxpayer is already paying millions for forensics besides lubricating the tardy justice system.
A couple of decades ago a new kind of force, the Taliban, were on the rise in war-torn Afghanistan; they were immensely popular at the beginning because of their egalitarian justice system. War crimes among the petty warlords were very common, these students from religious schools delivered swift justice without any discrimination and in public squares. One of the most popular phrases related to the judiciary is “justice delayed justice denied” do we want to pave the way for a kind of global Taliban?
Heinous crimes against humanity are not new and therefore the psyche at work is understood; no resources should be spent on rehabilitation of such beasts; whether rehabilitation is effective or not is another question. The general observation is, in the absence of strong morality, fear controls the inner beast and in the absence of a capital punishment the beast is rampant.
In the United States in 1978, Lawrence Singleton, a merchant seaman, picked up a fifteen year old child, Mary Vincent in Berkeley. He took her to an isolated area a few miles west of Patterson and near Interstate 5 in California. There he overpowered and raped the girl; afterwards chopped off her arms below the elbows to remove finger print evidence from the body. Then he dragged her down into a culvert and left her to die. But Mary did not die, she managed to get out of the culvert, reached the highway and was eventually taken to hospital. Singleton was convicted the next year, during the trial when Mary was about to identify the him, Singleton whispered in her ear that he would kill her if she did so. This frightened the child and she ran away without a testimony. Still Singleton was convicted but he spent only 15 years in jail. After release, he resumed his heinous past and ended up harassing and murdering his 31 year old neighbor.
Instead of keeping Singleton alive behind bars, it would have been better if the taxpayers’ money was spent on increased pay for police, helping reduce corruption within the department; and had the money been spent on witness protection it would have given Mary the courage to go through with her testimony. That would have saved another life and even better, had the money been spent on helping the deprived to get educated and on sex education in schools, no Mary would have ever trusted to accompany a human looking beast like Singleton. We as parents and as part of civil society know that universal education and democratic equality are the best revenge against barbarianism we do not want EYE FOR an EYE. We know every year hundreds of innocent people are executed because of the flawed justice system, we are very much against such executions but what’s the point in keeping confirmed beasts alive.
By Hassan Azra