Comments Posted By Jagai-Nitai
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I feel, after a lot of thought and introspection, that there is something fundamentally wrong with the approach and process toward the persecution of Dhanurdhara Swami. I feared writing this opinion, due to the present overwhelming sentiment and the potential backlash I may incur in defending the accused, but still I can not help but feel that the basic rights of due process have been trampled under the feet of the “save Iskcon from the abusers” movement.
The emotional and explicit letters, the petition, and the repeated judgments by Iskcon authorities all point to a system of justice within our society that is flawed. In short, in all honest societies, every human being has the natural right, to a bare minimum of fairness or due process. In criminal cases, it ensures that an accused person will not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
For example, Article One, section 9, of the US constitution prohibits ex post facto laws. An ex post facto law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed prior to the enactment of the law. It may criminalize actions that were legal when committed; or aggravate a crime by bringing it into a more severe category than it was at the time it was committed; or change or increase the punishment prescribed for a crime, such as adding new penalties or extending terms. This is exactly what the petition prescribes for Dhanurdhara Swami. To strip him of his Iskcon standing after a judgment has been passed down to him. Also we find in the 5th amendment, the prohibition of double jeopardy or prosecuting someone again for a crime on which a final judgment is already passed.
After reading the CPO verdict and judgment on Dhanurdhara Maharaja, and reading the previous judgments handed to him by the GBC, I feel that he has had his fair share of penalty and persecution. Iskcon is not a democratically elected body. We don’t have the luxury of harassing a local congress man for governmental change. If the devotees at large don’t like the way Iskcon handles its criminals then the fair thing to do is change the system. Create a way in which the public can change the governing laws for the future prosecution of criminals. But the continuous retroactive persuasion of GBC and CPO judgments by angry citizens through emotionally charged articles and petitions is tantamount to mob justice.
Again, I don’t want to be labeled as an enemy of children, a supporter of abusers or whatever fiery words that can be brandished to evade the subject. My point is fairness, justice, due process, not only for the victims but for the criminals as well.
If you would like to read more about due process I have included links to wikipedia. Portions of this opinion where copied directly from wikipedia entries.
Due process - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Due_process Ex post facto law - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto Double jeopardy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_jeopardy
Comment Posted By Jagai-Nitai On 26.06.2006 @ 15:14