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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Iran Sentences 5 More To Death in Postelection Civil Turmoil

The sentencing of five more opposition leaders to death brings the total number given an order of supreme sacrifice by Islamic justice to eight. This is not surprising given the Islamic culture of the Arabic countries.

It began almost 3,800 years ago during the reign of Hammurabi, a little-known (outside of Biblical and Legal scholars) King of Babylon. A man of his time - a time of violence and upheaval - he instituted the "Code of Hammurabi", the earliest-known example of a ruler proclaiming publicly to his people an entire body of laws, arranged in orderly groups, so that all men might read and know what was required of them. The code was carved upon a black stone monument, eight feet high, and clearly intended to be reared in public view.

The code then regulates in clear and definite strokes the organization of society. The judge who blunders in a law case is to be expelled from his judgeship forever, and heavily fined. The witness who testifies falsely is to be slain. Indeed, all the heavier crimes are made punishable with death. Even if a man builds a house badly, and it falls and kills the owner, the builder is to be slain. If the owner's son was killed, then the builder's son is slain. We can see where the Hebrews learned their law of "an eye for an eye." These grim retaliatory punishments take no note of excuses or explanations, but only of the fact--with one striking exception. An accused person was allowed to cast himself into "the river," the Euphrates. Apparently the art of swimming was unknown; for if the current bore him to the shore alive he was declared innocent, if he drowned he was guilty. So we learn that faith in the justice of the ruling gods was already firmly, though somewhat childishly, established in the minds of men.

There were 282 of these "laws" established in the code, most of which call for a penalty of death if violated, which today's western culture views as outrageously cruel. But there was no "western world" known at that time. The Code of Hammurabi is the foundation of all law in the majority of middle eastern countries. Add to that Muslim sharia law, which is itself draconian in nature, and you have a recipe for extreme punishment for what westerners would consider relatively minor offenses.

During the period of unrest and civil disturbance following Iran's recent questionable election, the only fatalities were inflicted upon the opposition by the government security forces. Those prisoners identified as being members of the opposition were, for the most part, charged with civil disturbances and property crimes (vandalism), neither of which would warrant the death penalty in any civilized society. But sharia "law" is a law that punishes victims of crime as quickly as it punishes the criminal.

Where is the world's outrage against such extreme penalties for relatively minor violations of law? Where are the bleeding heart liberals? Where is the loud voice of the international press? Where is a statement deploring these Draconian punishments from the President of the United States? Why are these actions treated by most as a footnote rather than a headline? This is the 21st century, not the 16th century BC!

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