Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Sixth Amendment

No photos please
It seems Egypt is taking to heart the right to a speedy trial (though somewhat less so on the U.S. Constitution’s take that such trials also be in public and before impartial juries, but let’s not digress). How speedy? Really speedy. Charges against dozens upon dozens of selectively targeted people (the selection process itself being highly suspect in nature) have been drummed up in a matter of days, allowing the prosecution to then incarcerate the unfortunate ones who did not manage to leave the country quickly enough, dress them in snappy white jump suits, and then have them pictured in a courtroom cage or prison cell. The scene typically is accompanied by wailing women, abusive shouts from the judges, prosecutors and gallery alike, and then inevitably followed by widely-published news stories condemning the accused for eternity.

Add to this that charges such as “wasting public funds” can be somewhat obtuse in nature (and ignoring of the circumstances), and evidence seems a little sketchy at times (nb: the research skills of those who recently went on a rampage through massive state security buildings must be remarkably good to have come up with all those incriminating files that fit so neatly into prevailing conspiracy theories). One might even say this all seems a tad bit unfair. There also is the inconvenient truth that witnessing many people whom were considered business partners and otherwise decent people just a month ago, now imprisoned in those snappy white jump suits, makes capital, domestic and foreign alike, highly averse, particularly in this current environment of vengeance against the more wealthy.

Accountability is a pillar of any just system, but so too is due process.

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