Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The intricacies of law enforcement

The Nigerian police have a suspect and a problem. How does a democratic system deal with popular beliefs that strain credulity?

In Iran, people are convicted without any public evidence. What's wrong with that trial? (trial?)

Can your students find other cases? How would they go about comparing them to one another?

Nigeria police hold 'robber' goat

"Police in Nigeria are holding a goat handed to them by a vigilante group, which said it was a car thief who had used witchcraft to change shape.

"A police spokesman in Kwara State has been quoted as saying that the 'armed robbery suspect' would remain in custody until investigations were over...

"The belief in witchcraft and the power to change shapes is common in Nigeria...

"[National police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said], 'The vigilante group arrested the goat and took it to the police, then they told the media.'

"The next morning journalists turned up demanding to see the goat, he said.

"'But of course goats can't commit crime.'..."

Iranian police have convicted two doctors without revealing any evidence

Iran doctors jailed over 'plot'

"Two prominent Iranian Aids doctors have been jailed for a total of nine years for their part in an alleged coup plot.

"Brothers Arash Alaei and Kamyar Alaei were accused of being "key elements" in a plan Iran said was backed by the CIA.

"The prison sentences were imposed after a secret trial and have provoked strong protests from human rights groups...

"Lawyer Massoud Shafiie said he would appeal against the charges and ask for the brothers' release, 'as there is no evidence proving their accusations'..."

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