In the battle to save the lives of Canadian citizens Mohamed and Sultan Kohail, the final showdown may come down to the Canadian government versus the family of the boy that Mohamed [PICTURED] and Sultan are accused of murdering.
[See this earlier Tuque Souq post for a background on the two brothers' dire situation on death row in Saudi Arabia.]
From a recent article in The Globe and Mail: "Under Saudi law, the victim's family can grant mercy just before the execution. The father of the dead man told The Globe and Mail he will forgive the brothers if they admit their guilt and Canadian officials back off their efforts to help them."
Essentially, the family of the victim wants the boys to fess up (after a Saudi court already found both boys guilty in separate, highly secretive trials earlier this year) before it will wield its power of clemency.
But an admission of guilt will take away Canada's moral high ground on this issue: namely, to criticize the dubious Saudi justice system and argue before the court of public opinion (at least in Canada) that the boys did not receive a fair trial. No doubt the Saudi government would love to see the two condemned boys torpedo their own claims of injustice and exonerate the Saudi system of jurisprudence in the face of Western criticism.
It's a dangerous bluff. If the Canadian government calls it, perhaps the boys' lives will still be saved by our steadfast commitment to the laws and principles of this country. If we take the path of least resistance - and let the boys plead guilty (which may or may not save their lives) - we'll just be another Western-elite hypocrite and we'll weaken our ability to save future lives and argue against tyrannical forms of justice.