Death Sentence

This morning, I heard on the radio that “Chemical” Ali Hassan, the former Saddam Hussein’s cousin who ordered chemical weapons attacks that have killed as many as 180,000 Kurds, was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to die by hanging by an Iraqi court.  The radio news played the reading of the sentence:


“You are guilty of crimes, ah, crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and you will be punished by being hanged to death.”


Well, maybe it lost something in the translation from Arabic, but it just didn’t have the emotional punch one would have expected for a death sentence being handed down for a heinous crime.  The seventeenth-century British Piracy Court got it right – a judge in that court would have said something like this:


“William Kidd, you are found guilty of piracy, murder, rapacious theft, and offenses against the Crown and People of Great Britain.  You are to be taken to Southwark and there hanged by the neck until you are dead, dead, DEAD!  Your head shall be placed upon a pike at Portsmouth, as an example of His Majesty’s justice.  May God have mercy on your soul.”

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.