In the French revolution of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the general public watched – screaming for vengeance and blood-splashed – as the nobles were executed. Meanwhile, Madame Thérèse Defarge calmly observed people taken to the guillotine while knitting.
Following the political turmoil that took place in 2011 and 2013, Egypt this year has witnessed a rise in terrorism, with episodes that took lives and injured many innocent people, including citizens and civil servants.
After each incident, Egyptian voices on social media and TV talk shows called for the death by execution of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and others, going as far as calling for the death of all the movement members and their supporters. Meanwhile, others call for ordinary legal trials, where the punishment should fit the crime. These people include believers in the rule of law and those who are arguably biased by their political leanings.
The validity of the death penalty has been debated over centuries, yet this is not the question to be raised, as Egyptian legislation condones the death sentence as a punishment for several crimes.
The question to be posed here is whether or not the government should follow voices calling for death without trials. Before reaching a decision, the consequences should be carefully considered.
Immediate executions without legal trials
If we adopted this scenario, then we are asking the state to breach national and international laws and carry out a clear violation of human rights. This might result in a state of chaos, giving people a sign that the state itself does not abide by the rule of law. In addition, this would worsen Egypt’s position internationally as a state that violates human rights.
On a smaller scale, if the government leaves the impression that it is emotionally driven, this might create more enemies, which is especially unfavorable at the moment as we are fighting terrorism and everyone’s support is needed.
Legal trials and the rule of law
This seems to be more civilized and fair, with fewer losses. This scenario chooses the rule of law, where everyone who is proven guilty is punished equal to the act, not too lenient or severe, without any political biases – an eye for an eye.
Egypt should choose the second option, the one that strengthens the prevalence of justice and rule of law. Otherwise, there might follow more waves of violence and deaths, and we will never live peacefully and safely.
I was truly terrified when I saw people stating on Facebook that, for the first time, the sight of burned bodies satisfied them. It took me right back to A Tale of Two Cities, where killings were an amusement for people to watch like a movie. As put by Om Anisa in Al Ahd, “Dam Ya Estamanouha, dam.”
WE SAID THIS: What do you think the government should do?