Pubdate: Wed, 14 Dec 2011
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2011 The Daily News.


No margin of error is acceptable when it comes to the death penalty.
This is why the gallows, lethal injection, firing squad or any other
means of judicial killing should be forbidden.

Morality of executions aside, the finality and the possibility of even
the smallest mistake, make capital punishment unacceptable. So it was
in Janice Linden's case, where Chinese officials put her to death on
Monday after airport authorities found 3kg of methamphetamine in her
luggage three years ago.

She apparently never admitted guilt, suggesting that the tik might
have been planted. As long as there was a sliver of doubt about this,
and any plausibility in her protestations of innocence, she should not
have been executed.

Tik is a killer and ruins lives. Three kilograms of it means
widespread misery. Being a tik mule is akin to pouring poison into the
destination community. It is no minor crime. It is no wonder, then,
that China views smuggling so gravely.

Linden's loved ones have to endure the pain of her loss, and this
newspaper does not wish to add to that agony. But she was carrying
tik, wittingly or not, and for this a heavy price was

Should she have paid with her life? No. It erased the possibility of
ever reviewing the evidence against her.

On drug mules generally, smuggling narcotics in countries with severe
penalties defies understanding. Judging by estimates of South African
carriers in prisons abroad, and the arrest in Bangkok on Monday of a
woman with 1.5kg of cocaine hidden in her dreadlock hairstyle, it is a
source of income for a growing number.

These travellers are risking their lives, as Linden has just shown,
and cannot argue that they did not know the consequences of their
wicked acts.

When you enter another country, you live by its laws. Or die by them.
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