In Aprile 2011, the U.S. state department released a report on human rights in Zimbabwe. In the report U.S. government officials outline many abuses of power and savage acts perpetrated by the Zimbabwe government and their security forces. Specific cases include mass beating of high school and college students, torture of protesters, unlawful arrests, harassment, and even imprisonment of adolescent children. According to the U.S. Government, the problem is worsening in Zimbabwe and the corruption in their government continues to hide the abuses.
I don’t know if this next story really qualifies as abuse or an infringement on human rights by authorities, but it’s a different approach to a problem than we might take here in the United States.
A 17-year-old boy from Chiredzi, a small rural town in South Africa, has been arrested for a “criminal insult”. For an undisclosed reason, he snapped a picture of a local business women busy at work in her office, then posted the photograph on Facebook with a caption reading, “a typical Chiredzi prostitute”. He then called the women and informed her of his actions. The two were already friends on Facebook, so she noticed the posting immediately after the call. She then contacted local security agents.
The boy admitted to authorities that he had indeed taken the photo and posted the comments, but also explained that he was, “sorry” and didn’t know any better because he was new to online social networking. He begged the court for leniency stating that he was the only one working to support his family. The judge convicted him of “criminal insult” and he was sentenced to be beaten with a cane.
I’m curious to know what people think about this type of punishment. It doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything and I’m pretty sure he won’t be doing it again.