Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Too Titillating!

Saudi Lawyer Takes On Religious Court System (H/T: Crossroads Arabia):
Lahem, a 35-year-old father of two, contends that the police oppress people in the name of religion and act as if the law doesn't apply to them. He wants to prove them wrong.

"If we win this case, it will have more of an impact than a dozen lectures or newspaper articles," he said. "It will send a powerful message to them, and to the public, who view men of the cloth as untouchable. It will prove that nobody is above the rule of law."

Over the past three years, Lahem has taken on the country's most controversial and sensitive cases and turned them into high-profile indictments of the justice system. He has been thrown in jail several times and banned from traveling abroad. But he continues to fight what he considers an antiquated judiciary, out of step with basic human rights.

Congratulations, Saudi Arabia. You are now where the West was 250 years ago, just before John Wilkes successfully challenged the British system of general warrants. After that freedom of the press was secure and orders to government officials had to be specific and they were henceforth legally responsible to the courts for their actions; the law now applied to everybody. Abuse of governmental authority was thus drastically reduced, and freedom of the press assured. American Revolutionists who supported Wilkes enshrined his victory in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids invasive search and seizure without a judicial warrant.

Unfortunately this important episode in the history of civil rights is not commonly taught in schools, probably because the specifics of Wilkes' case were not just political but also pornographic. Sometimes history is just too titillating to be taught!

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