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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Abolishing the Death Penalty in Sierra Leone

HomeAYV NewsAbolishing the Death Penalty in Sierra Leone

Abolishing the Death Penalty in Sierra Leone

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The whole idea of advocating for the abolition of the death penalty signifies a shifting away from religious principles. And when one considers that most of these advocates are either Christians or Muslims more is the pity. Where there had been capital punishment in the past culprits are now to be left off the hook for political reasons to give the impression to the electorate that the politicians are more humane and therefore more electable. It should be reiterated here that the much-touted human rights is not the sole right of the perpetrator but also the right of the victim. So what is all the distraction from religious principles about?

The death penalty is considered to be a fundamental principle in Islamic law. However article 5 of the Arab Charter of Human Rights by the Arab League recognizes the right to life and the preamble affirms the faith of the Arab nations in the dignity of the human person whom God has exalted ever since the beginning of creation. In other words it can only be just if there is a right to life for the killed as well. Real justice requires people to suffer their wrong doing in a way appropriate to the crime. Each criminal should get what their crime deserves and in the case of a murderer what their crime deserves is death. Many people find that this argument fits with their inherent sense of justice. Guilty people deserve to be punished in proportion to the severity of their crime.

In Japan those who are in favor of the death penalty of capital punishment currently comprise 81 percent of the population or that is the official statistic. Nonetheless there is also a small but increasingly vociferous abolitionist’s movement in Japan. From an ethical point of view this is the totally consequentialist argument that if executing a few people will lead to an aggregate increase in happiness then that is a good thing.

In their zest the abolitionists have mindlessly brought God into the fray. One rabid abolitionist has stated in his logic that if man is the image of God, then man must not kill God. Beautiful by him. In the first place it is only atheists who can sully the name of God in such a blasphemous syllogism. Secondly love is blind and Steve wonder is blind. It does not therefore follow that Steve Wonder is God (Non sequittur).

Time was when killings for ritual and cannibalism purposes in Sierra Leone almost became the order of the day all geared towards the bid for political power. But the murderers were stopped in their tracks by application of the death penalty and murders become a thing of the past and a rarity. This is amply evidenced by executions of the 1970s, 1980s and the 24 military personnel in 1998. These killings have their biblical justifications including a passage in Deuteronomy 19 verse 21 that states; “Life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

Readers may recall that last year a misanthrope in Denmark shot about 77 of his compatriots on an island. As if this bizarre incident was not horrendous enough, the culprit was sent to the prison (now correctional centre) in Sierra Leone for 21 years. Can you beat that? He has served for five years and he has appealed that his human rights were being violated according to the European Convention on Human Rights and his appeal was upheld. This new phenomenon of human rights is the facade under which all sorts of heinous crimes are being committed these days. The fact that 129 out of about 187 countries in the world are for abolishing the death penalty does not mean that the rest of the world should follow suit. This is not a democratic issue. It’s like thinking that a majority of the world’s population will make heaven which is not likely. Sierra Leone should belong to the religious minority. We should not allow ourselves to go with the great crowd.

The chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee has said that their tour of all parts of the country revealed that the country is split down the middle over the vexed question of abolition or retention of death penalty. It is only he/she that feels it knows it. I wager that these super human rights advocates would not be so vociferous if any of their relatives or friends were murdered. We should not allow politicians to lead us up to the garden path while pretending to be made of a singular human breed of mankind.

I am here appealing to my religious compatriots to join me in tipping the scales in favor of the retention of the death penalty in the name of God. Let life go for life according to Deuteronomy 19:21.

As if to second my motion to retain the death penalty the Nigerian government has proposed the death penalty for kidnappers. This is obviously because merely jailing them is not sufficient deterrence. Let us keep to the edicts of the Christian and Muslim scripture.

 

The recent SLPP related death in Kenema may not be unconnected to the feeling that the consequences may be just custodial sentencing. So why should we not maintain the death penalty? Not only that. The recently elected head of the Philippines has opted for the death penalty for certain offences.

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