Sunday, July 16, 2006

Torture in the Age of Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth IProf. Lisa Jardine sees parallels between the torture of suspicious foreigners by Elizabeth I's security services and today's terrorist-driven hysteria (thanks, Dave!):

It was not until the end of the seventeenth century, by a slow process, during and after the English Civil Wars, that the civil liberties fatally undermined during the Age of Elizabeth began gradually to be restored. It took until the nineteenth century for the individual human rights we take for granted to become fully enshrined in law.

The process by which people who are alleged to have committed offences against the state are brought to court, so that the allegations against them can be properly examined, has been honed over centuries. Once dismantled, due process of the law will take centuries to rebuild.

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