Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If Not Him, Who?

I don't know whythis young man was refused asylum, but it would be an ugly blot on Europe, and a sign that Christian compassion has been all but extinguished on that continent, if he were forced to return to Iran:

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, traveled to Britain to study in 2005 and applied there for asylum after learning that his male lover in Iran had been executed for sodomy. After British authorities rejected Kazemi's application, he fled and applied for asylum in the Netherlands.

Upholding a ruling by the Dutch government, the Council of State said Britain is responsible for Kazemi's case because he applied for asylum there first. European Union rules say the member state where an asylum seeker first enters the bloc is responsible for processing that person's claim.

The fact that a man is gay should not earn him a death sentence any more than prostitution should be a capital crime. Unfortunately, in the Islamic state of Iran, it does. This photo is of the hanging of two teenagers in Iran who were sentenced to death simply because they were gay.

In Iran being homosexual is a worse crime than raping a woman. Why send Mehdi Khazemi back to that? If someone like this 19 year-old boy should not be given asylum, who should?


How the Mighty Have Fallen

Democrat Eliot Spitzer has resigned as Governor of New York. It's easy to feel sorry for his family which must be absolutely mortified to learn that their father and husband has spent perhaps $80,000 on prostitutes over the last six years.

It's harder, however, to feel sorry for Spitzer himself. By all accounts he was an arrogant prosecutorial bully who used his previous office as state attorney general to destroy people who hadn't really done anything wrong. He was, in other words, another Michael Nifong, the man who prosecuted the Duke lacrosse players on charges of rape even though he had every reason to know they were innocent.

Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal composes a scathing indictment of the news media's complicity in Spitzer's abuse of power. In the course of her essay she says this:

Consider the report in the wake of a 2005 op-ed in this newspaper by John Whitehead. A respected Wall Street figure, Mr. Whitehead dared to criticize Mr. Spitzer for his unscrupulously zealous pursuit of Mr. Greenberg. Mr. Spitzer later threatened Mr. Whitehead, telling him in a phone call that "You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done." Some months later, after more Spitzer excesses, Mr. Whitehead had the temerity to write another op-ed describing what Mr. Spitzer had said.

Within a few days, the press was reporting (unsourced, of course) that Mr. Whitehead had defended Mr. Greenberg a few weeks after a Greenberg charity had given $25 million to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation -- a group Mr. Whitehead chaired. So Mr. Whitehead's on-the-record views were met with an unsourced smear implying bad faith. The press ran with it anyway.

In 2005, Mr. Spitzer went on national television to suggest that Mr. Greenberg had engaged in criminal activity. It was front-page news. About six months later, on the eve of a Thanksgiving weekend, Mr. Spitzer quietly disclosed that he lacked the evidence to press criminal charges. That news was buried inside the papers.

In 2004 Attorney General Spitzer arrested 18 people on prostitution and related charges:

Spitzer proudly announced on April 8, 2004, that authorities had arrested 18 people on promoting prostitution and related charges-including money laundering and falsifying business records-in an investigation of escort services in New York.

"This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure," Spitzer said at the time. "It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring, and now its owners and operators will be held accountable."

In the 2004 probe, investigators used wiretaps and other surveillance to build their case, said Vincent Romano, who defended the man accused of running the ring. Prosecutors also charged some of the defendants with enterprise corruption-a charge carrying heavier penalties than simple prostitution. No charges were brought against the ring's customers, just those accused of working for or running the service.

"It was a big splash. They had the perp walk. He caused a lot of embarrassment to a lot of people in the case to his benefit. What he put their families through at the time, he's probably experiencing now: the level of embarrassment and ridicule," Romano said.

"He's got this overzealous, mean-spirited prosecution, but behind closed doors in another state, he's doing the identical thing that he's accusing others of doing," he added. "And the other irony of it is that you've made a career off of a wiretap, and your demise is by the same prosecutorial tool."

There's more on Spitzer's Nifong-like prosecutorial abuses at the above links. We're called to offer our compassion to the sinner, but some cases are a lot harder than others.