If an individual takes its responsibility and make the world aware about terrible violations against a human being, should that one be held accountable in a justice system? From the perspective of the common sense, the obvious answer should be: no one should be held accountable for reporting human rights violations. Unfortunately, this is something that is possible and there is a great risk that lawsuits against caring fellow creatures will escalate. In the so called “good example” of a world we in the west live in today, a person should not be held accountable for doing a human action. Especially, since were trying to foist our “fantastic” values and systems on the rest of the world.
There are many individuals all over the world, that have made the world aware of violations against human beings from states, companies etc. They have been imprisoned, executed and tortured for their admirable courage, and should never be forgotten. These kinds of human rights abuses mostly have taken place in undemocratic societies and is not acceptable. Although, in this text I will put my effort in making you aware of two individuals from the United States of America, that because of their duty towards humanity, today, is mentally living without bad conscience, but physically is living in poor conditions.
Matthew Mark Diaz
A former active-duty Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) and Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) officer in the United States Navy. He served a six month tour (end of 2004 and early 2005) of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as deputy director of the detention center’s legal office.
From my point of view, Matt Diaz made a remarkable thing for his fellow human beings during his time in Guantanamo Bay. He sent a postcard anonymously to The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York civil liberties and human rights group, containing names of detainees that were/is held at Guantanamo Bay’s detention camp. This admirable action led to a military court, because the United States formally charged him in July 2006 for his human rights deed. They came up with five criminal counts related to the sending of these names, amongst them the accusation that he intended to harm national security or advantage a foreign nation, a violation of the Espionage Act.
The outcome of the trial, finished May 2007, was 6 months in prison for Matt, although not guilty on all counts. Naturally, as most of the times, he was dismissed from his military work. Of course, he is having a hard time finding a work outside the military services.
In April 2008 he got a recognition for his tremendous effort for the humane action he did, when he was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling.
Almost a year have passed since the incarceration of the American soldier Bradley Manning, a year full of psychical problems for him and his family. He is imprisoned by his own country for providing an unauthorized source with classified information that is risking to harm the US as a country. There are 22 charges against him and one concerning “helping the enemy”. Maybe it is true that the information has harmed the US. Although, through my point of view it would have been a bigger crime if he had not released this documents. Without this information many people all over the world would probably be in much greater danger then they already were in.
USA is a sovereign state that with might and main is defending their right to imprison “traitors”. However, this do not mean that it is right through a moral and ethical perspective. A fellow creature must be granted the opportunity to act against human rights violations and be able to forward information that contains evidence thereof.
There should be an international standard that is defending people who are doing a good deed for the humanity, when they whistle-blow. An institution, where these individuals can turn to if they have provided the world with information about violations made by any of this world’s countries and needs to be protected. If already imprisoned, these human beings should be helped to leave that incarceration and given the chance to start a new life elsewhere.