< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: What happened to due process?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

What happened to due process?

Jose Padilla otherwise known as the "dirty bomber" is still being held without ever being charged by the US government. Padilla (an American citizen) was arrested in Chicago's O'Hare Airport and designated an enemy combatant for his plot to detonate a dirty bomb. Although Padilla remains in a military brig in South Carolina, he has yet to be charged with a crime. Padilla may be a terrorist and a traitor and deserve severe punishment, but he has not been given the opportunity to try to prove his innocence in a court of law, a gross deprivation of due process. For more information read this CATO institute article. For updates in this case, which has reached the Supreme Court and will do so again, please check out chargepadilla.org. For a related article about the military trials of Guantánamo detainees click here.

The debate over this case reminds me of a famous scene from "A Man for All Seasons," when Sir Thomas More refuses to arrest one of his servants who is spying for Thomas Cromwell. The scence unfolds as the servant leaves...

Wife: Arrest him!
More: For what?
Wife: He's dangerous!
Roper: For all we know he's a spy!
Daughter: Father, that man's bad!
More: There's no law against that!
Roper: There is, God's law!
More: Then let God arrest him!
Wife: While you talk he's gone!
More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?
This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

--Tom Hayes


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