Friday, 27 May 2016

For treason, would you prefer to be tried by English or sharia law?

"A man doth compass or imagine the death of our lord the King, or of our lady his Queen or of their eldest son and heir.”

“Violating” your majesty’s wife, the sovereign’s eldest daughter, or the wife of the heir to the throne were also treasonous acts. If you waged war against the king, aided the enemy or even killed the king’s chancellor, your crime was punishable by death.

This crime had one of the goriest punishments in English history.

First, the traitor would be tied up and drawn across rough ground by a horse. He would then be hanged to within an inch of his life. He would be disembowelled and beheaded. Then he would be cut into four sections. 

The public would watch and sometimes throw rotten food. If the traitor was a woman, she was burned. The bloody details were shared in penny pamphlets and engravings depicting the slow execution.

One of the most famous traitors in English history was Guy Fawkes, a Catholic Yorkshireman who in 1605 was arrested while guarding 36 barrels of explosives beneath the House of Lords. He was said to be planning the assassination of King James I with others in the Gunpowder Plot. He had been interrogated several times but admitted to almost nothing. 

The Treason Act is one of the earliest statutes still in force today – albeit with significant amendments.

The last time it was used in the UK was in 1945, to prosecute William Joyce, or Lord Haw-Haw, a Nazi propagandist who had aided and assisted Germany during the second world war by:

"Broadcasting to the subjects of our Lord the King propaganda on behalf of the said enemies of our Lord the King.”

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,

It even gives the option of mercy.

Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Under committing adultery with the wife of the Caliph or the wife of the Caliph's son would only attract a punishment of 100 lashes. Under English law, it is significantly more severe.

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