Sharia law is a system of justice based on Islam as defined in that religion’s sacred texts. Like any system of justice based on religion, it is intolerant, cruel, obsessed with sex, and incompatible with our modern understanding of what makes for a humane society. For example, “Within Sharia law, there are a group of “Haram” offenses which carry severe punishments. These include pre-marital sexual intercourse, sex by divorced persons, post-marital sex, adultery, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. Haram sexual offenses can carry a sentence of stoning to death or severe flogging.”
There has been some hysteria in the US about the creeping threat of Sharia law being imposed in the US, and the claims that Barack Obama may be a secret Muslim are part of this paranoia. Twelve states have even proposed legislation to ban it, although the First Amendment would make these superfluous since it would rule out any laws that seek to advance the interests of any one religion.
But despite this anti-Sharia feeling, what people may not be aware of is that Sharia law is what the US used to enable CIA agent Ray Davis to escape trial and punishment for murder in Pakistan.
You may recall the case in which Davis was captured after gunning down two men in a crowded city. The US demanded that he be released immediately while the Pakistan government said that he had no alternative but to go through the legal process. The US government and the media kept the public in the dark about the facts of the case.
Then to everyone’s surprise, Davis was suddenly released and quickly spirited out of the country. How did that happen? Because the US took advantage of Sharia law in which a person accused of a murder can be released if the family members of the victim pardon him in exchange for ‘blood money’, which is what happened in the Davis case. The Pakistani government has confirmed this.
Shaukat Qadir, a retired senior Pakistani military officer, explains the deal that was struck.
It appears, therefore, that the deal struck between the military leadership included a shut down of CIA’s HUMINT operations in Pakistan, retaining only ELINT, Davis would ‘sing’, within limits, of course, and only then could Blood Money be negotiated for his release. And the US would be bled in that final deal also so as to ensure the safety and the future of the immediate families of both Davis’s victims.
At the height of the debate on the question of Raymond Davis’ immunity from trial for murder, this writer emphasized that Pakistan could not release him without a trial. A trial took duly place and, in accordance with prevalent law in Pakistan, the next of kin of the deceased young men, pardoned Davis in return for ‘Blood Money’. However outlandish this law might seem to those peoples whose countries have their based on Anglo-Saxon principles, such is the law in Pakistan and so there was nothing underhand in what transpired.
Alexander Cockburn says that reports have emerged that “a price tag of about $1.5 million per family was been paid, with US citizenship for a dozen or more members of each family, with job guarantees for those of age and education opportunities guaranteed for children – more than they could ever dream of and sufficiently tempting for them to pardon Davis. Money in sufficient quantity rarely loses its persuasive powers.”
So there you have it. Sharia law was used by the US government to enable Ray Davis to escape punishment for his crime. But don’t expect the wingnuts to make a fuss about it.