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Friends in High Places

January 3, 2011

Political connections can be a helpful and powerful tool, especially when you have access to that power. Just ask Esteban Nunez. In one of his last official acts as California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenneger has decided to commute Mr. Nunez’s sentence for his participation in the murder of Luis Santos. Of course, that has drawn the ire of many people; first and foremost, the parents of Luis Santos.

When you don’t have access to that political power, well, you don’t get treated nearly as well. Just ask Dr. Binayak Sen, “a pediatrician and human rights activist,” who was “convicted of ‘sedition’ and conspiracy under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004.”

However, Dr. Sen was “detained without proper charges for seven months, denied bail, and kept in solitary confinement for three weeks. Many of the charges against him stem from laws that contravene international standards. Repeated delays in the conduct of his trial have cast doubts about its fairness.”

So here is the lesson we have all learned today. When you have access to concentrated power, you can get away with murder–literally. When you don’t have access to that power, well, it could go either way. You could get a fair trial, or you could be treated like Dr. Binayak Sen.

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