Friday, November 15, 2002

BELOW RADAR OUTRAGE ITEM: Charles Paul Freund in Reason Links tell us the story of Hashem Aghajari, who is to be executed in Iran for questioning religious authority, a sentence that Aghajari could get out of but might not want to--to make a point:

Aghajari has the right to appeal his verdict, presumably allowing a deal to be worked out that could defuse the crisis. (Similar death sentences have been reduced on appeal.) But his lawyer now says that Aghajari doesn't want to appeal. According to the lawyer, Aghajari says that "those who have issued this verdict have to implement it if they think it is right or else the Judiciary has to handle it." He thus appears to be risking his life so as to force Iran's judicial establishment to confront its own barbarity. In the meantime, he is reportedly suffering in prison, where his right leg, amputated at the knee as a result of the Iran-Iraq war, has become infected. He cannot stand or walk, even to the prison bathrooms. Nevertheless, he appears to be prepared to sacrifice himself in the name of his liberal principles, an act of potential martyrdom that contrasts dramatically with the acts of the unspeakable but celebrated ghoul "martyrs" who detonate themselves to kill Jewish children in strollers.

Freund ends by saying Iran "has had enough martyrs; it doesn't need another one."

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