Saturday, July 08, 2006

Age and Just Punishment

A variety of tinpot dictators have since been held accountable for their crimes. Some, like Chile's Mr Pinochet, will probably get away with murder and torture. Currently Mexico is witnessing a court case against Mr Echeverria (picture top left), a former President of the country. As it happens, Mr Echeverria was also Interior Minister at the time when PRI government agents shot at unarmed, protesting students. Mr Ignacio Carrillo is a special prosecutor filing charges against Mr Echeverria. No doubt, the former Interior Minister is innocent until proven guilty. While I have little doubt about his role in the student massacre, my views are neither here nor there by way of proof.
What is of interest to me is an entirely different issue. Mr Echeverria's legal team announced that even if he was found guilty he would not go to jail, because of his age (he is 83).
This is what puzzles me a bit. I could see why he might not be prosecuted and go to jail if his memory was failing, or his intellectual capacities were faulty, yet this is not the case made by his legal team. Rather they suggest that age as such is a sufficient reason to rule out prosecution and a jail sentence for someone found guilty of murder.
I wonder what their rationale for this proposition might be...

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