View Full Version : Execution of foreign citizens in the U.S.
Wed, 5th Feb '03, 7:05pm
This has been a controversy for a while but has recently reared its head over the last couple of days. Recently (a few days ago) a man with dual citizenship, British and American, was executed. I'm trying to find the article again but haven't met with much success. He and a group of other men were charged with raping a girl, the man claiming British citizenship afterwards removed a metal chain which served as his belt and then used the chain and his feet to beat the girl to death. The U.K. government along with groups in the U.K. tried to apply political pressure to stop the execution. Something tells me this was in Texas but I'm not sure about that.
The World Court also just told the U.S. that it has to stay the execution of three Mexican men. See: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030205/ap_on_re_eu/world_court_death_penalty_6
The reasoning behind the World Court's ruling is that under the Vienna Convention authorities are required to tell foreign nationals that they have the right to have their consular informed if they so request. The argument is that they weren't told about this right. See: http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/fnnat.html
Now, I'm personally against the death penalty for reasons that apply to a mistrust of the competency of the system. There was a long death penalty discussion here earlier about this and it can probably still be searched.
However, with regards to foreign nationals in the U.S., I feel they should have no more rights than any other person who engages in similar conduct. I understand well the legal arguments being raised regarding whether the defendant was notified of his right to have the consul notified. (Note there is no right to assistance.) This should be something easily rectified and I'd think that best case scenarion for the defendants is a retrial and, let us be honest, another conviction. I also don't think a retrial would result under U.S. law since I believe the courts will likely determine the error, which I assume will be denied by the State, would be considered harmless in the sense that had the consul been notified the result of the trial would not have been different.
I'm reminded of the American kid beaten in... was it Singapore?... for something like graffiti. Now, this was widely reported on the news at the time but the general sentiment that I recall in the U.S. at the time was that if you go to another nation then you have to abide by their rules and don't expect special treatment. The U.S. refused to intervene on his behalf. Now, the death penalty is more drastic of course but the principle strikes me as the same. Everyone in the world realizes the U.S. has the death penalty. If a foreign national then chooses to come to the U.S. and rape and beat a girl to death why is there such a public outcry about that foreing national in those nations? Now, if they want to raise similar outcry when the fellow from Birmingham Alabama is executed then that's different but it only occurs when it is the fellow from Birmingham England.
My feelings are if you want to protest the U.S. death penalty in general go for it, I'll probably support you. But if you want to make special exceptions for someone because he happens to be from Birmingham England and not Birmingham Alabama then you'll receive little support from me. THoughts?
Wed, 5th Feb '03, 8:15pm
If you commit a crime in a foreign country, you should be punished by the laws of that country
Why shouldnt they be punished? Then I could go to Uganda, rape 14 children in some sadist way and then get a jail with a t.v., radio, clean toilet and nice jailors.
BTW, Holland doesn´t have jails, we have hotels
[ February 05, 2003, 20:16: Message edited by: Morgoth ]
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 4:58am
With the obvious exceptions of those with diplomatic immunity aside, if you go to another country, you are affording yourself the benefit of its resources, whether in the context of work, tourism, or whatever the reason is that you are there. By so doing, you subject yourself to its laws. There is no different treatment nor should there be. With regard to the idiot in Singapore, when I heard about the case I could not understand the people who were saying he should not be punished according to their laws, etc. I literally thought to myself "Schmuck, what the hell are you doing going to a country with laws like that and acting in flagrant disregard of those laws? Do you think you get a "time-out"? They should beat you just as hard as their own citizens."
Really, did he think that he was going to get a pass because he was an American? I was really hoping he would learn a lesson. Maybe he did.
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 11:57am
I agree with Morgoth, laws are made for a reason, and countries have different laws. So if you don't like them don't go their or don't go breaking them.
Same story where Europeans (or non Europeans) get caught in Indonesia with a few grams drugs, they will get the deathpenalty or at least a life in jail.
I'd say, let them stay there, they knew the risk, they knew the laws but still they go there.
BTW, Holland doesn´t have jails, we have hotelsYes, and they have on bedded rooms AND two bedded rooms as of late :rolleyes: . Guards aren't happy with it though.
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 4:42pm
I think a lot in our little country should change. More authority and respect for the police, and harsher punishments.
Last year three persons got about 1 to 3 years for setting someone on fire after kicking her and cutting her throat.
We really need to crack down. (And that's not a drug aimed pun ;) )
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 6:52pm
I believe that the practice of "Execution of foreign citizens in the U.S." should continue. Only then one day Shralp will probably understand the purpose of all those Americabashing threads.
Besides, what were those foreign citizens doing in U.S. anyway?
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 7:16pm
Besides, what were those foreign citizens doing in U.S. anyway? Apparently they were raping and beating women to death.
Not sure what you're driving at, the point is why do people think their citizens should be treated better than other citizens when the voluntarily travel abroad? This applies to the US as well as dmc and I noted with the Singapore case.
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 8:16pm
I'm a little confused, too, Extremist. You seem to be saying that these people shouldn't have been held accountable to the laws they broke. Can you justify that, please?
Thu, 6th Feb '03, 9:52pm
When in Rome do as the romans do. You have to respect the laws of the country you are in.
*But* if the criminals goverment feels like trying to do something for the criminal they should be notified the second he gets arrested. A nationality entitles some rights for a citizen even if it is abroad. I also think that a conviction may be done in the country where the crime was commited but that the sentence may payed in the nation of origin. If that nation so pleads.
Death penalty is a bit special as more or less all developed countries has scrapped it, if a swedish citizen had been condemned to death somewhere else I think the outrage would be huge here, no matter the crime. And the pressure on our government to do something overwhelming.
Fri, 7th Feb '03, 6:01am
My understanding of the American legal system is that everyone, guilty or innocent, is entitled to a vigorous defense. A foreigner's government would help them get that vigorous defense.
That said, I have a real problem with the wrist slapping that some of these sickos get for crimes that are so shockingly serious. I do not care if these guys were American, British, Russian, or Tobagan, they raped someone and then killed her. There is no rehabilitation that will ever compensate that atrocity. Kill them ASAP -- I wish my country (love it though I do) had the guts to do it.
Fri, 7th Feb '03, 6:26am
@Joacqin - The problem with the "convict here, serve at home" concept is that there is little impetus for the home country to follow through. For example, back to the moron in Singapore: If he's convicted there (as he rightfully was), there is next to no chance that any Court here would order him caned. Also, while we have a vast array of ways to kill people (well, at least a couple), you'll find that caning is deemed "cruel and unusual punishment" and would not happen. I'm not sure who would do the caning anyway. Thus, serve the time where you do the crime.
BTW, I'd like to see a reinstitution of corporal punishment (such as caning) for lower level offenses instead of ridiculous fines or jail time. I would imagine that a public caning might have a better deterrent effect than a $500 fine to the average minor offender. Just my two cents.
Sat, 8th Feb '03, 1:40am
Rallymama, there is no confusion. Those people obviously came to U.S. to get executed because they couldn't make that in their own countries. Plain and simple. Who cares if the the country they are from originally doesn't practice the death penalty. I say kill 'em, kill 'em all!
Sat, 8th Feb '03, 2:26am
Depaara, I don't agree with you, Canada shouldn't get back death penality, Being ALL YOUR LIFE long in jail, is far worst then being killed, by leathal injection or whatever, and beside if a innocent is found to be guilty and he get the death penalty and then 6 mounth later, they found that he was unguilty, imagine the reaction of the family of the wrongly acused person, what would they say to them
" we're sorry... hummmm pretty please?"
And anyway, if you come to a another country for "whatever" reason and commit a crime, you should get the judgment that this country has, so if it's death penalty than so be it, even if I disagree with death penalty, it's that country law...
Sat, 8th Feb '03, 4:24pm
DM, if I could be SURE that the crook would be kept forever in the jail, then I would agree with you. Trouble is, memory dims, liberals whine, and 10 years later El Sickozoid is back on the street, free to kill, rape, and maim again. I don't know a lot of fancy statistics, but I know one simple one -- the rate of recidivism for those sentenced to death is 0%!
Sat, 8th Feb '03, 7:52pm
I have never been in favour of the death penalty. As Dungeon_Master said, it is too final and leaves no room for error. Once someone is dead, that's it, there is no going back. There have been instances in this country where people have been found to have been wrongly accused after years of incarceration. Obviously, the wrong was righted as best we could and the innocent was released and somewhat compensated. Nevertheless, Depaara makes a good point. Dimming memories and Liberal whining aside, our sentences for even the most heinous of crimes are far too lenient. Life sentences should be life sentences, not 25 years with parole in ten.
As for a response to the initial post, I feel the onus to be on the traveller to make themselves aware of the laws of their host country. You come to my house, you play by my rules.
Sun, 9th Feb '03, 12:36am
I am opposed to the death penalty, just as I am to torture and mutilation. We don't say, "American girls travelling in Africa should undergo clitorectemies". Human rights violations are always intolerable, no matter the nationality of the perpetrators or the victims. However, American voters have *chosen* to subject themselves to a system in which their government can murder them under certain circumstances. To a degree, American citizens have therefore forfeited their right not to be murdered by the state. Travelling in a country which does not respect basic human rights is not morally equivalent to having surrendered those rights by electing a pro-death-penalty leader.
On a related note: the Canadian government is standing idly by while one of our own is being tortured in Saudi Arabia. This is wrong. Even if he had broken laws in Saudi Arabia (although he had not been convicted of anything before they started torturing him), no one has the right to torture another. We should go in there, using force if necessary, and get him back.
Sun, 9th Feb '03, 2:44am
Do not travel to another country, if you are not prepared to accept their laws.
Or be framed for a crime by their Mafia.
Yes, I know there is nifty stuff that you would like to experience.
Sorry. Them's the brakes.
Sun, 9th Feb '03, 4:42am
I guess that the crux of this argument is the question of the fairness of the judicial system that is deciding things. The American judicial system is seen by many (myelf included) as being about the fairest on the planet. Therefore, most people are willing to abide by its decisions, because there are so many checks and balances in place. My only complaint is that I feel most Western systems are too lenient. I'm not talking about frame-ups, I'm talking about obvious situations wherein heinous crimes have been committed. I find it morally repugnant that there would even by a possibility that a guy could get away with rape on the basis of foreign citizenship.
And Sprite, I don't know the details on this fellow you're mentioning being tortured in Saudi Arabia, but you know how the Canadian government is -- we wouldn't attack ANYONE without permission from Uncle Sam. And given the fact that the Saudi's are ostensibly allies, well, it couldn't happen. More's the pity.
[ February 09, 2003, 04:43: Message edited by: Depaara ]