Saturday, May 24, 2008

How to get Afzal out!

I am reading Jeffrey Toobin's book The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It was a bestseller, and if you watch CNN you might know that Toobin is CNN's legal analyst. Anyway, while talking about different judges and how they're evolving he mentions that international opinions i.e., opinions by courts in other countries, might have had an influence on certain judges, and that they evoke those in their own judgments or dissents, sometimes.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal judge (one of those, in minority, who voted against Bush in 2000 election case) quoted legal opinions from Zimbabwe, India, Jamaica in one of his dissents.

The quote:
" a growing number of courts outside the United States...have held that lengthy delay in administering a lawful death penalty renders ultimate execution inhuman, degrading, or unusually cruel."
This is striking. If indeed Indian judges have thus opined, then it is quite possible to purposefully use the govt. procrastination in Afzal's execution to get him out. One of the most common principle in judicial discourse is citing precedent as cause for certain decision. It is called stare decisis. It is a Latin term for "prior court decisions to be held as precedent."

It is known that Afzal has not had a fair trial. Well, it is pretty much an accepted fact. He has been languishing in jail, waiting for the execution, for about 2 yrs. now. By the time UPA demits office it will be close to 3, enough to qualify for an excrutiatingly "lengthy delay." If UPA returns to power, his waiting period can be extended further, solidifying his case for a reconsideration, a retrial or something even better.

After legally wearing out Taslima into exile, a legerdemain in Afzal's case is a must for the sake of justice. "What about laws and the attack on parliament?" you might ask.

Well, silly rabit, tricks are for kids, and laws, for communalists.

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