Volume 91, Issue 98

Thursday, April 2, 1998

cash grab


Respect foreign law

Re: The dark ages, March 26

To the Editor:
While I happen to agree with B. McLeod's opinion that killing people for drug offences is outdated and unusually cruel, I also have to point out that it is general knowledge that Middle Eastern countries are generally very tough on most crimes – and their punishments for those crimes is usually quite aggressive. It is risky to traffic drugs in North America, but to do so in the United Arab Emirates is downright foolish.

The second point regarding this issue is the fact that, when we are on foreign turf, we abide by the local laws – no matter how arcane they may be. Nobody is forced to visit a Middle Eastern country, but we choose to visit it. Think of how we would feel if people visiting our country flagrantly broke our laws, but thought their actions should be punished less vigorously because they were Swiss!

The third point is quite clear. The original author had no problem with the people killed in the UAE for drug offences until it was a friend and a Canadian who was to be punished. This seems to raise a double standard issue – do Canadians deserve to be above the law simply because of their nationality? I don't think so. It is ridiculous to think we are somehow on a moral high ground compared with those in the Middle East. The people there live in a totally different culture from ours with vastly different values and ethics. This fact makes a direct comparison between legal systems tenuous at best.

I think this case is very sad and unfortunate, but the fact remains that this Canadian would not be in his current position if he hadn't broken the law in full cognizance of his actions.

Philip Jones
Medicine II

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Copyright The Gazette 1998