Letter: Exonerate Bentley

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Exonerate Bentley

Sir: The long overdue recognition of the awful injustice meted out to Derek Bentley and others wrongly convicted calls not for pardon - royal or otherwise - but for full and unconditional exoneration. This is also true of those servicemen executed for "cowardice in the face of the enemy", when they were, as is now officially recognised, much more likely to have suffered psychological trauma under hideous circumstances.

To "pardon", ie to "forgive", in such cases is quite inappropriate. It is those responsible for the injustice and the state on whose behalf it was perpetrated who should ask for forgiveness.