Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The unlinked deaths of Osama bin Laden and Jean Charles de Menezes : acts of democratic justice ?

If Osama bin Laden actually carried out the heinous terrorist acts of which he was generally accused, or if he actively promoted and supported their carrying out, then he should have been brought to justice. He should have gone on trial to answer the charges. I have always been told this is the democratic way.
However if he died as a consequence of violently resisting his arrest then those servicemen involved in his "capture" - surely it was not his "assassination", that's not the democratic way - may have had no alternative but to defend their own lives by firing back at their armed assailants.
I suppose this is why in 2005 the entirely innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes had to be killed by police on a Saturday morning in the carriage of an underground train following the horrendous 7th July terrorist attacks in London. The difference between the two killings was that de Menezes hadn't ever been accused of being a terrorist, had never supported or committed an act of terrorism, hadn't got a weapon and didn't violently resist arrest.
So is that the price we all have to pay sometimes for the honour of living the democratic way ?
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