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NCJ Number: 161162 Find in a Library
Title: Penalty of Hand Amputation for Theft in Islamic Justice (From Comparative Criminal Justice: Traditional and Nontraditional Systems of Law and Control, P 429-452, 1996, Charles B Fields and Richter H Moore, Jr, eds. -- See NCJ-161138)
Author(s): S S Souryal; A I Alobied; D W Potts
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Waveland Press, Inc.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Sale Source: Waveland Press, Inc.
4180 IL Route 83
Suite 101
Long Grove, IL 60047
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explains the relationship between theft and hand amputation in Islamic law, presents another view of the negative perception of this punishment, and describes the rigorous rules of evidence that must be met if theft is to be sufficiently proven to warrant hand amputation.
Abstract: The penalty of hand amputation for theft under Islamic law is a "Had" (a God-prescribed punishment) which is intended to be a particularly stern deterrent. As a Had, the penalty is absolute and cannot be negotiated, altered, or forgiven as long as rigorous rules of evidence are met. A single confession is sufficient for conviction. For a confession to be admissible, it should be made voluntarily, unequivocally, and in detail in and during the court proceeding. Confessions may be withdrawn at any time, i.e., during trial, after the sentence has been passed, and up to the moment of execution. If the confession is withdrawn, the sentence must be set aside and the accused retried without the use of the confession as evidence. Two male eyewitnesses or one male and two female eyewitnesses are required to obtain a conviction without a confession. Witnesses must meet rigorous criteria before they can testify. They must have high moral integrity and credibility, be over the age of puberty, be sane at the time of the crime and at trial, and must never have been convicted of a serious crime or have engaged in deviant behavior. Although the penalty of hand amputation is considered cruel by all concerned, including the Moslem jurists and believers, in the societies that apply it, it ceases to be "unusual" and is accepted as a deterrent. Under the threat of this penalty, Islamic justice has not only been able to all but eradicate theft, but has apparently deterred more serious crimes. 8 notes and a 27-item bibliography
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Foreign laws; Islamic law; Punishment; Theft offenses
Note: Previously published in the Journal of Criminal Justice, V 22, N 3 (1994).
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