My Dear Rizana, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones as we come to terms with the news that you have been beheaded despite the numerous pleas made on your behalf by all those who were concerned about your welfare. Even though you are no more, Rizana, I thought I must [...]

5th Column

Justice on the chopping block


My Dear Rizana,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones as we come to terms with the news that you have been beheaded despite the numerous pleas made on your behalf by all those who were concerned about your welfare.

Even though you are no more, Rizana, I thought I must still write to you because I want you to know that you are not alone. Just two days after you were beheaded, there was a similar execution of another lady, not in some barbaric desert land but in this Paradise Isle of ours. Her name was Justice.

I heard your accusers claim that you had committed a serious offence, Rizana and they wanted you punished for that, regardless of whether that was the correct thing to do. And you always maintained that you did not deliberately do what you were accused of doing.

Similarly, Rizana, Justice also maintained that she never committed the offences she was accused of. Nevertheless, like your accusers, her accusers were not interested in establishing the facts. All they were interested in was beheading Justice and ensuring that she was dead.

I heard, Rizana, that you were put through a trial. I also heard that the trial was a one-sided affair where no one really knew what was going on. The only aim of those who acted as judges in your trial was to ensure your speedy execution and they saw to it that they did that.

Similarly, Rizana, Justice also had a trial. It was also a hopelessly one-sided affair chaired by a group of people, the majority of whom were colleagues of the accusers. These ‘judges’ also did not really know what was going on and what the proper procedure to be followed was-as it was in your trial.

As in your case, Rizana, their only aim was to ensure that Justice was speedily executed. In fact, they were worse than those who judged you. That is because your trial took about six years. The trial for Justice lasted just six weeks, before she was executed.

I heard, Rizana, that in your trial you were not properly represented by lawyers and that you were not offered proper legal assistance. I also heard that your pleas for legal assistance and a proper trial were repeatedly ignored by those responsible for conducting the trial.

Similarly, Rizana, Justice also pleaded that she be given a fair trial and that her lawyers be allowed to represent her properly and summon their own witnesses. Not surprisingly, all those pleas fell on deaf ears and the trial went ahead, disregarding all established procedures and practices.

At your trial, I heard that you could hardly understand what was taking place. All you would have heard was your accusers casting insulting remarks at you and calling you a murderer when you were protesting your innocence.

Similarly, Rizana, Justice was also not treated well at her trial. Her accusers were insulting her at every stage and making vulgar remarks-until Justice could stand it no longer and walked out of the proceedings.
After your trial, Rizana, we had some hope for you because there were so many appeals asking that you be pardoned. We hoped for the best because so many people from around the world were requesting that you be treated with leniency and the respect that you deserved.

Justice was not so lucky. Those who were supposed to oppose her accusers were not making a strong case on her behalf. They were hiding behind some rules and regulations and not taking on an active role in trying to save Justice. There was even a suspicion that they didn’t really want to save Justice.

I heard, Rizana, that the family members of the infant you were accused of killing insisted on not granting you a pardon and were in fact present at your execution, just to make sure that you were dead. We were horrified to hear of that.

Similarly, Rizana, they say that those who wanted Justice executed were also members of a family in Paradise. A member of that family presided when Justice was executed, again possibly to make sure that Justice would be dead. 

Those who wanted Justice dead were present in large numbers when they executed Justice. Some of them who were from the accusers’ party said they were against the execution and walked away. Sadly, not a single man or woman among them had enough of a backbone to stand up and say ‘no’.

I heard, Rizana, that the final appeal for your life was made to the King of the barbaric Desert Land. Apparently there were many who begged for mercy from the King but the King refused a pardon and went ahead with your execution, we were told.

Similarly, Rizana, there were numerous appeals made on behalf of Justice to the King of Paradise-which is also now fast becoming a barbaric land. Even religious leaders appealed on her behalf. The King however, in all his wisdom decided that the execution should go ahead.

We hope and pray that you are at rest now, Rizana and that your family finds some comfort in your memory. Unfortunately for us in Paradise, we cannot do so. We must continue to fight to see whether Justice can be resurrected!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-We heard that those in the barbaric Desert Land even refused a request for your remains to be sent home and buried you there instead. I think those in Paradise will follow that example. Now that Justice is dead, they will want to bury her as quickly as possible without allowing her sisters, Faith, Hope and Freedom to fight for her resurrection. But, helped by Justice’s brothers who stood with her at all times in an appealing and supremely courageous manner, I am sure they will.

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