Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the right to be cloned

A few weeks ago, Rabin-assassin Yigal Amir was caught on tape attempting to smuggle his seed from prison to his controversially betrothed, and continued to blast the Shin Bet for fabricating the report until he was sat down and shown the video himself.

Amir's smuggling attempt breached a High Court injunction prohibiting him from using in-vitro fertilization to impregnate his wife. Israel Prison Service had approved them for the procedure in March, but the court halted the proceedings after two former members of knesset petitioned to deny Amir the right to bear children.

In repayment, the High Court on Monday rejected their petition, and said although Amir "was and still is one of the most denounced criminals in Israeli national consciousness of recent generations, if not the most denounced of all," he nevertheless "has, as any other prisoner, basic human rights, from which he was not stripped upon entering the prison."

In a "proper constitutional regime," said the justices, "the human rights umbrella protects a person insofar as he is a person, including an imprisoned criminal."

The court ruled that "the considerations seeking to worsen the conditions of his imprisonment because of the severity of his crime, or to limit his human rights in revenge for his deeds, are not relevant and therefore invalid."

When would it be considered relevant and valid to limit a prisoner's human rights as punishment for the severity of his or her crime or deeds?

In legal systems that employ capital punishment, the convicted is denied the basic human right to survive. Thirty-eight out of 50 of the United States employ capital punishment. Israel, technically, does not have a death penalty, except in certain cases of war crimes or treason. It used it once, executing Adolph Eichmann for war crimes committed not geographically in Israel, but against members of the Jewish nation. The United States has a constitution of rights. Israel, technically, does not.

Yigal Amir used murder to fight a national process for peace and security. Israel condones the death penalty in certain cases of treason and war crimes. Amir struck a direct blow to Israel's security but was sentenced to multiple lives in prison, not capital punishment. He was guaranteed the human right to survive. Now he has been guaranteed the human right to procreate,

In a legal world of pick and choose, under which universal umbrella of human rights are these rights protected?

(High Court quotes from Haaretz)

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