Friday, 28 December 2012
From The New York Times:
December 28, 2012
Islamists’ Harsh Justice Is on the Rise in North Mali
BAMAKO, Mali — Moctar Touré was strapped to a chair, blindfolded, his right hand bound tight to the armrest with a rubber tube. A doctor came and administered a shot. Then Mr. Touré’s own brother wielded a knife, the kind used to slaughter sheep, and methodically carried out the sentence.
“I myself cut off my brother’s hand,” said Aliou Touré, a police chief in the Islamist-held north of this divided nation. “We had no choice but to practice the justice of God.”
Such amputations are designed to shock — residents are often summoned to watch — and even as the world makes plans to recapture northern Mali by force, the Islamists who control it show no qualms about carrying them out.
After the United Nations Security Council authorized a military campaign to retake the region last week, Islamists in Gao, Mr. Touré’s town, cut the hands off two more people accused of being thieves the very next day, a leading local official said, describing it as a brazen response to the United Nations resolution. Then the Islamists, undeterred by the international threats against them, warned reporters that eight others “will soon share the same fate.”
This harsh application of Shariah law, with people accused of being thieves sometimes having their feet amputated as well, has occurred at least 14 times since the Islamist takeover last spring, not including the recent vow of more to come, according to Human Rights Watch and independent observers.
But those are just the known cases, and dozens of other residents have been publicly flogged with camel-hair whips or tree branches for offenses like smoking, or even for playing music on the radio. Several were whipped in Gao on Monday for smoking in public, an official said, while others said that anything other than Koranic verses were proscribed as cellphone ringtones. A jaunty tune is punishable by flogging.
At least one case of the most severe punishment — stoning to death — was carried out in the town of Aguelhok in July against a couple accused of having children out of wedlock.
Trials are often rudimentary. A dozen or so jihadi judges sitting in a circle on floor mats pronounce judgment, according to former Malian officials in the north. Hearings, judgment and sentence are usually carried out rapidly, on the same day.
“They do it among themselves, in closed session,” said Abdou Sidibé, a parliamentary deputy from Gao, now in exile here in the capital, Bamako. “These people who have come among us have imposed their justice,” he said. “It comes from nowhere.”[if it comes "from nowhere" then why does this form of justice correspond so exactly to what the Taliban did in Afghanistan, or what other True Believers in Islam have done elsewhere? It comes from the Qur'an and Hadith, taken straight up and not on the rocks, that is undiluted by time and practical accommodation].
The jihadists are even attempting to sell the former criminal courts building in Gao, Mr. Sidibé said, because they no longer have any use for it. In Timbuktu, justice is dispensed from a room in a former hotel.
Many of the amputation victims have now drifted down to Bamako, in the south, which despite suffering from its own political volatility has become a haven for tens of thousands fleeing harsh conditions in the north, including the forced recruitment of child soldiers by the Islamists.
Moctar Touré, 25, and Souleymane Traoré, 25, both spoke haltingly and stared into the distance, remembering life before the moments that turned their worlds upside down and made them, as they felt, useless. They gently cradled the rounded stumps that now serve as arms, wondering what would come next.
The two young men had been truck drivers before Gao was overrun last spring. Both were accused of stealing guns; both said they merely acted out of patriotic feeling for the now-divided Malian state, with the intention of helping it regain the north.
In September, Mr. Traoré said, he was summoned from his jail cell after three months of a brutal prison term in which he was often fed nothing. Acquaintances had denounced him to the Islamist police; he was stealing the extremists’ weapons at night, he said, and burying them in the sand by the Niger River.
As ten other prisoners watched, he was ordered to sit in a chair, and his arms were tightly bound to it. With a razor, one of his jailers traced a circle on his forearm. “It pains me to even think about it,” he said, looking down, cradling his head in his remaining hand.
Mr. Touré’s brother, Aliou, the police chief, sawed off his hand. It took three minutes. Mr. Traoré said he passed out.
“I said nothing. I let them do it,” he said.
Moctar Touré had his hand amputated several weeks later. He said it took 30 minutes, though he fainted in the process, awakening in the hospital bed where the Islamists had placed him afterward.
Mr. Touré said his brother had insisted that the sentence be carried out.
“They asked my own brother three times if that was the sentence,” Mr. Touré said. “He’s the commissioner of police in Gao, and he wants to die a martyr,” Mr. Touré said quietly. “He joined up with the Islamists when they came to Gao.”
Aliou Touré, reached by telephone in the Sahara, said the decision was a simple one.
“He stole nine times,” he said of his brother. “He’s my own brother. God told us to do it. God created my brother. God created me. You must read the Koran to see that what I say is true. This is in the Koran. That’s why we do it.”
Moctar Touré had a different story. The Islamists had pressed him into joining their militia, he said, but the training was brutal and Mr. Touré quit. One day they saw him carrying some guns, and they accused him of wanting to subvert the new order. He was jailed.
Sweat streamed down Mr. Touré’s forehead as he recalled the terrible memories, sitting on a bench at a busy bus station here, 600 miles from Gao.
The Islamists had called out five prisoners that morning; four were to be witnesses. They took them all to an unused customs post at the edge of Gao, and Mr. Touré was ordered to wash himself. The Islamists told him what his sentence was to be.
“I was helpless,” he said. “I was completely tied up.”
Now, Mr. Touré spends his days hanging out at the bus station near a cousin’s house. Mr. Traoré hopes to learn a new trade, given that “I can’t be a driver anymore,” he said.
Mr. Touré, for his part, is in despair. “I have no idea what I am going to do,” he said. “I’m completely lost. Night and day, I ask myself, ‘What is going to happen?’ Nobody has helped me.”
The people in Gao have protested the amputations several times, according to Human Rights Watch, even halting them once by throwing stones at the Islamic police and blocking the entrance to the main square.
“To come to Gao and inflict these sentences they call Islamic, [as, in fact, they are, but its Muslim victims cannot admit that to themselves] ] I say it is illegal,” said Abderrahmane Oumarou, a communal councilor there, reached by telephone after last week’s amputations.
As for the Islamists’ justice, “I don’t give credit to their accusations,” Mr. Oumarou said. “You can’t replace Malian justice.”
Mr. Oumarou said the Islamists had been busy lately writing “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic on the former Malian administrative buildings in Gao.“Their accusations are false,” he said. “They said weapons were stolen. But these are lies.”
Posted on 12/28/2012 10:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
28 Dec 2012
There is no "cure" for islam. There has been/will be no "reform" of islam. It is what it is, forever. To paraphrase the "short" version of Cato, Delenda Islamo Est.
28 Dec 2012
And for the benefit of any moral equivalencers out there, who may just possibly drop by: I will just point out that the sadistic and stupid Koranic punishment of cutting off of hands (and then feet) for theft, which makes the thief (if he survives) a wretched cripple incapable of working and earning a living and able only to beg, has no parallel in the Bible at all.
In the Old Testament, the usual punishment for theft is that what was stolen must be restored, or the equivalent, plus extra on top. For example, Exodus 22:1 - 'if a man shall steal an ox or sheep, and kill it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep." Again, "if the thing stolen be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double." A man who steals his neighbour's pasture by turning his own beasts onto it, must make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard. If a man starts a fire and it damages his neighbours' standing grain, then again, the principle is restitution. At Exodus 22: 9, a general principle is stated - 'For all manner of trespas, whether it be for ox, or for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour".
Not the rendering of a person incapable of supporting himself or of producing anything henceforth; but, rather, the requiring of the person to give back what was stolen, and then some.
In the New Testament, St Paul discusses the case of penitent thieves within the new Christian communities. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have [something] to give to him that needeth". One may assume that St Paul - trained in Jewish law - takes it for granted that the thief will have already made restitution to his victim/s, giving back what he took or the equivalent, plus extra; now he is working hard with his hands, and from having been one who takes from others, he is not only able to support himself honestly (in accord with what is enjoined upon all members of the Christian community in 1 Thessalonians 4 - 'that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands...that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing') but is able to give to the needy.
28 Dec 2012
I know that many of these third world countries are plagued by illiteracy and ignorance, but I just can't understand the appeal that the Islamists have, and they do get substantial support, despite their cruel and bullying ways.
If there are so many refugees in Mali's south, then they should be organized into an army to invade the north. We need a Lawrence of Mali to come to the rescue.
29 Dec 2012
There is another aspect of having just one hand, apart from unable to make a proper living.