Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Can American conscience stand the rot in American standards of justice? 

26 September 2010 08:35:05

Can American conscience stand the rot in American standards of justice?

Fayyaz Baqar

ISLAMABAD, September 26, 2010: The decision of a US court to sentence Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years imprisonment is an indictment against the American conscience. Americans, who take pride in belonging to a 'Free Country', need to ponder over the low standards of justice set by their system of justice. A country known for being a melting pot is using extremely discriminatory code of ethics against the most vulnerable and innocent people in the name of justice. Indictment of Dr. Siddiqui is a case in point.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui left her home with three children a few years ago and never came back. She was later traced in a US Airbase in Bagram. She has been charged with attempt to kill US soldiers on duty. It is still a dark secret  whether she was arrested or kidnapped from Karachi. If she was arrested we need to know the charges, the law which authorised her arrest and the law enforcing agencies responsible for arresting her? If she was not arrested, on what moral, legal or political grounds her kidnapping can be justified? If we assume for the moment that she was guilty of committing a crime, on what charges were her innocent little children arrested and kept in custody? Were they kidnapped or arrested? Under which law were they kept in confinement? Why one of them has not been traced up to know? Who would be charged, tried and penalised for this heinous crime? Is kidnapping, abusing and mistreating children not considered a crime under American criminal law? Or Americans children are supposed to be 'more equal' than others?

Regarding incarceration for attempting to kill, it would be apt to ask, why attempt to kill is a crime and 'collateral damage' of dozens of innocent women, children and non combatant every day is defence of 'freedom'.  Is it 'Orwellian' justice or we are living in '1984'?   Societies that loose the capacity to make distinction between right and wrong, good and bad, fairness and unfairness may not be overpowered by outsiders but are torn apart by internal decay. That has happened to many great empires in the past and may happen to the lone superpower in existence. It is time for American people to wake up. By denying those very freedoms to others which Americans take for granted themselves, they are diminishing their own freedom.  A scared mind cannot have a free existence. By denying freedom and fairness to others one creates the conditions for undermining one’s own freedom.

An ethical standard does not become a noble principle because it is popular or is upheld by a jury. Hitler and Mussolini were the most popular leaders of their time. They were not judged to be fair by history. The same thing happened with Polpot. Polpot massacred millions of Cambodians. But the dangerous thing is not killing of millions but the Polpot mindset. Killing of millions always starts with killing of one person. Judicial massacre also starts with one or two murders. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has been denied fair hearing, due process of law and personal respect and dignity. Her children have been denied the security which is the birth right of every child on earth. She has been subjected to insults, torture and inhuman treatment. She has been pushed to the twilight zone between sanity and insanity. Granting her 86 years of 'life' in imprisonment is no less than killing her every moment for the rest of her life. It is no less than a judicial murder. It needs to be stopped before it is too late.