Executing justice

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A 25 January editorial seemed to say that the state execution of a man with a history of mental illness would be out of order because of the illness.

The man was found guilty of blasphemy to Islam. Exacting the death penalty is still prevalent in many countries for those convicted of a variety of offences. Executing murderers might find many advocates, but doing so for “blasphemy”, where there is no personal injury is in principle quite excessive. Even incarcerating people for such an offence is a massive over-reaction.

How this arose is unclear, but in societies where adulterers can reportedly be stoned to death, apostasy punished by execution, stealing punished by 
medically-supervised amputations, “honour killings” are normal, it is perhaps unsurprising.

In such cases, so-called interference in other countries’ internal affairs could be accepted internationally, but even the United Nations seems unconcerned. A sign of the times is that, reportedly, medical workers administering vaccines against polio were murdered by fundamentalists – on the grounds that they thought the vaccination drive was part of a programme of sterilisation. How can such ignorance be countered?

Joe Darby


Dingwall, Ross-shire