Sunday, May 21, 2017

Heinrich van Rooyen - framed by the cops

I am sick and tired of people telling me that prisoners deserve to be treated as sub-human.  They are so judgmental – so many say that prisoners deserve to be there, that they are criminals and they did the crime so they must do the time. They say that they don’t deserve anything better than what they are getting, even if it is a gross human rights violation.  The horrifying thing is that the people with the most to say about this line of thinking are Christians.   Do they not realize that these prisoners are people too?    I have also come to a realization.  Putting a prisoner in prison is not only punishment for the alleged criminal, but a punishment for a whole family.  Everyone in the family is punished – not being able to see their loved ones is a terrible punishment for the family.  And it is so easy to end up in prison – how many people have done something wrong and got away with it … but even worse for me is the number of prisoners in prison for crimes they did not commit.   Those who see prisoners as sub-human – how would they feel if it was their father, their son, their brother?  How would they feel?
I am particularly concerned about Heinrich van Rooyen because he has been framed by the police and convicted of two murders of which he is innocent.  William Blackstone: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”  I am in agreement with that.
Here is a chilling thought:  In a country like South Africa where justice depends on how much money you have, what is the percentage of innocent people in prison?  Researches in the USA write that there is an error rate of 4 percent in death row prisoners.  Still, with an error rate of 4 percent, the researchers write, “it is all but certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent.”  This research only concerns those who are on death row.   What percentage of the general population of prisoners are innocent in South Africa?  From discussions I have had with numerous people involved in the criminal justice system, I have been told that it is definitely not below 14%. 

I would love to get an Innocence Project off the ground and raise funds for investigators, good lawyers and better advocates to take on cases where the prisoner is innocent of his crime.   But I can’t do that alone.  Want to help me? 
Post a Comment