Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Red-lines and no lines

Yesterday, a young man plead guilty to intending to cause an explosion which potentially might have caused harm, death or damage to property.
Yesterday, Khalid, now 23, was sentenced to 14 years for his role in a homegrown terror cell known as the Toronto 18, which was busted in June 2006 for plotting to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto. But he was given credit for his three years and three months spent in pre-trial custody, meaning his sentence amounts to an additional seven years behind bars. He will be eligible for parole in 28 months. Khalid was ordered to provide a DNA sample and was given a lifetime weapons prohibition. In May, he pleaded guilty to intending to cause an explosion that was likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or damage to property. He was the first member of the group to admit the existence of a bomb plot.
I would contend without the active guidance and participation from undercover agents our clowned princes of Canadian terrorism would not had the first clue as to how to build a truck bomb or where to buy the supplies, but be that as it may be; there were no victims, no property was damaged and no lives were harmed except his own and his co-accused. He was sentenced to a 14 year stretch in her majesty's goal. I get that we need to be 'tough' on terrorism as a deterrent and I understand the societal message that terrorism is a red line which cannot be crossed and expect leniency.

And this is where I juxtapose. First the scenario:

It was revealed during the trial that in October 2006, a woman in her 30s woke up in Alves's bed, bruised and bleeding after an evening at a downtown Vancouver nightclub. The married woman — who cannot be identified — said she had no recollection of meeting Alves the night before. Medical testing confirmed she had had sexual intercourse and found traces of alcohol and sedatives in her system. The woman told the court her will to live had been drained because of what happened to her and that she was unable to feel safe or to be intimate with her husband.

The sentence.

The former owner of a Burnaby, B.C., pub has been handed a nine-month conditional sentence after pleading guilty to sexual assault in a case that prompted criticism of the police from the convicted man's lawyer. Fernando Manuel Alves, 46, had faced four charges of sexual assault and one charge of administering a noxious substance.

The justice actually called it a 'crime of opportunity'. Imagine that. Then think of your daughters, your wife, your mother, your aunts, your grandmothers are all just breathing living walking around crimes of opportunity waiting to happen.

Yes, we need to be tough on terrorism, but what of the other red lines, red lines which are crossed with frightening regularity which leaves an actual trail of victims? Where is the punitive part of the sentence, where is the deterrent value to a 9 month conditional sentence?

The cold cruel light of day is this; if Khalid had used serial rape of women as his 'jihad' he would have walked out of prison a free man yesterday, and who knows - perhaps the judge would have accused him of a one time 'lapse of judgment' or maybe the Justice would have called it merely a 'crime of opportunity'.

Forgive me for feeling somewhat bitter since I, my daughters, my mother, my aunts, my cousins, my neighbours, my co-workers, and even the lady working late at the corner variety store are 1000 times more likely to be a victim of rape than a victim of political terror in Canada and thinking its long past time for the legal system to start treating sexual assault with the seriousness this grave and heinous crime deserves.