© Copyright 2010 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: M+/mf; wrap; bandage; casket; encase; entomb; burial; magic; prison; nc; X
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: SHOULD THERE BE UNIVERSAL STANDARDS?
BY JESSICA PALEY, STAFF WRITER
In today's troubled world, with rising crime rates, the threats of terrorism and numerous other threats that threaten our daily lives, it should be no surprise that the issue of justice is frequently raised. More often then that, we would like to believe that justice is universal, and that all countries have standards that are fair and just.
Sadly however, this isn't always the case.
For proof of this, I ask you to recall the internal incident regarding the Enerickson couple that dominated the headlines for the past two months. Though the odds of any of our readers not knowing the case is low, I will nevertheless reiterate it for their benefit: A couple traveling to the isolated African nation of Jamakuzu runs afowl of local laws when they break into an ancient and sacred pyramid that has remained undisturbed for centuries. As a result, the two are arrested, tried, and sentenced to be buried alive for their crime of disturbing such a sacred place.
By any standards, a sentence of being buried alive seems to go too far, a punishment that outweighs any crime. It is barbaric, inhumane, and flat out immoral. But what made the case even more controversial was the nature of the punishment. Under an ancient law that the nation of Jamakuzu has been following for the several centuries, violators of sacred burial sites are to be buried alive for eternity, never to be released. And as the only country on the planet that has been confirmed to practice magic, the nation of Jamakuzu have the means to bury someone alive and keep them alive for eternity.
Does this type of punishment sound fair to you, the reader? I would hope not as it is utterly barbaric by any standards. And yet, despite all their protests and threats, the world ultimilty stood aside and allowed the punishment of this poor couple to be carried out. By any standard, this is one of the greatest violations of human rights ever to have occurred.
Did the couple deserve it? That was a question that was raised many times during the trial of the Enericksons trial. I was one of the very few journalists allowed into this secretive country to cover the trial and even get the opportunity to interview the Enericksons themselves.
The first time I did so, was a horrifying experience. Though the country is sufficiently modern by our standards, Jamakuzu's justice system is anything but. Underground dungeons are still common and prisoners are often locked up twenty four hours a day for weeks on end. Albert and Cathy Enerickson were kept in such cells, but not only that, they were kept in restraints the entire time. For those not familiar with Jamakuzu justice, criminals are wrapped up as mummies and kept in coffins when imprisoned, which makes escape a virtual impossibility.
It was in that state that I first met the two. Wrapped up as mummies, with only their heads exposed. Due to magic spells that had been cast on them, they did not require food or substance during their imprisonment, and could remain bandaged indefinitely. For the interview, both were lying in coffins, propped up on the wall while two guards watched over me, making sure my questions didn't venture too far into the realm of politically incorrect.
Albert was the first one I interviewed. A man at the peak of health, he was thirty five, but he was terrified. “I wanted to go in there and get all the gold,” he told me, when I asked about the pyramid. “It was in a remote part of the jungle we were exploring. I thought nobody would notice.”
His wife, Cathy, agreed. She backed up his story. But while both their stories checked out I can't help but suspect that they had been pressured into making such statements. Both of them were terrified, and showed signs of exhaustion and extreme fear. Though I couldn't see any signs of physical abuse, it was clear that they had been insulted and intimidated. I believe it was almost certain that they had been forced to say what the government wanted me to hear.
After the interview was over, their mouths were wrapped back up, and their coffins were locked, then returned to their cells. When I was being escorted out, I thought I could have heard muffled screams coming from those coffins, and their despairing occupants.
The official stance of the government was that the Enericksons were treasure hunters on a mission to steal treasure and sell it on the black market. And while such claims, when compared to what the Enericksons had said, seem like something a dictatorship might say, there might be some truth the government's claims. A background check on the Enericksons reveals that they have had ties to dealing with gold and treasures, but it was all legitimate, as far as anyone can tell.
Are the Enericksons innocent? Or guilty? Or were they possibly considering to cross the line just for more money? We do not know, but we know how the Enericksons home country of England reacted. Though sympathetic to the Enericksons plight, the country maintained that since the two had violated the laws of Jamakuzu, and thus were under their jurisdiction, a stance the other so called, “Civilized” countries of the world maintained. All they did was protest and wag their fingers, but when it came to the sentencing of these two, they did nothing.
I did not witness the trial myself, but by all accounts, it was short. The Enericksons were charged, tried, and found guilty within an hour. But, standing outside the court, I did see them as they were brought out, tightly wrapped, but both of them screaming into their wrappings, crying as they were taken to the dungeons.
I had one last chance to talk with them that night, before the sentence was to be carried out. If they had been terrified before, they were beyond terror that night. The interview, if you could call it that, lasted only a few minutes before the guards put an end to it, tired of hearing the two scream and beg for me to get them out of there.
The burial took place the next day. I was the only journalist on hand to watch and record the process, where the Enericksons were wrapped in several more layers of bandages, until they were completely encased and enclosed. Two of Jamakuzu's sorcerers placed the spells upon the two, making them immortal and undying. They were then placed in coffins that were nailed shut, then taken away into the jungle to be buried. I was not allowed to follow them.
And so ended the legal debacle of the Enerickson trial. Even as we speak, they lie entombed somewhere within Jamakuzu, alive, buried within the ground. If Jamakuzu has their way, they will remain alive and buried for eternity.
Is that just?
All attempts to get comments from the Jamakuzu government have been denied and met with silence. The proud, isolated country refuses to let anyone from the world community inside, and is not likely to change that stance anytime soon. There are even rumors that the country let the Enericksons into the country just to frame and punish them, as a warning for the rest of the world to leave them alone.
True or not however, this is perverted justice. It may be justice, in that the Enericksons are being punished for their crime. But it is perverted in that it lasts forever, not until death, or a certain amount of years. In this writer's opinion, this shows how justice is not always universal. Some sources of this so called justice, need to be stopped. Universal standards need to be implemented. How many more people suffer inhumane “Justice” at the hands of foreign countries?
Though we cannot know if the Enericksons will ever be freed, rumors of several countries aiming to ally and fight the country may give hope to the idea that we may be able to find and free the Enericksons, if we ever find them within the country's jungles. And while I do not condone invasion any more then anyone else, perhaps sometimes drastic measures are needed to stop miscarriages of justice and save those caught under it's yoke.
Only time will tell if we will all grow up and put away such cruel punishments against each other.
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