Letter: Presidential hypocrisy over Singapore caning

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The Independent Online
Sir: I agree with those who believe that the punishment meted out to Michael Fay in Singapore was barbaric and should not have any place in a civilised society. Equally unacceptable was President Clinton's stance on the matter.

It was Mr Clinton who interrupted his presidential campaign to supervise the execution of a prisoner in Arkansas. Many believe that this highly publicised act was motivated by the need not to fall into the same trap as Michael Dukakis and appear soft on crime. It is Mr Clinton who has sought to underline his credentials on the subject of law and order by introducing the policy of 'three strikes and you're out'.

One of the things that the President questioned was the validity of the conviction in the Fay case. Yet the media has highlighted many instances where the death sentence has been carried out despite genuine concerns about both the case for the prosecution and the mental status of the criminal.

Anyone running for high public office in the United States stands little chance of getting elected unless they take a strong stand on crime, and the death penalty in particular. However, this does not excuse the political expediency, inconsistency and hypocrisy displayed by Mr Clinton.

Yours sincerely,

SAMIR SHAH

London, NW6

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