[Marxism] Turn in DSK case: presumption of innocence for both buried in rubble (Guardian)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Sun Jul 3 07:26:04 MDT 2011


Editorial 
The Observer, Sunday 3 July 2011
Whatever happened in suite 2806 of the Sofitel New York on 14 May between
the wealthy aristocrat and the immigrant chambermaid - and lawyer Kenneth
Thompson continues to claim his client was a victim of sexual assault - it's
as if both parties have been found guilty and that cannot be good for
justice.

The initial rush to judgment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the
International Monetary Fund, potential French presidential candidate, with a
reputation as a "great seducer", and the exposure of his highly predatory
proclivities is now matched by the current avalanche of information about
the character, conduct and credibility of the 32-year-old maid who has
accused him of rape.

The stuff coming out about chambermaid is typical of the requirement that
women who charge rape must be secular saints (unless they are actually nuns)
and has nothing to do with what went on between the principals that day. The
physical evidence says that something did, but of course the prosecution has
to meet the burden of proving guilt of rape. If they are using her
background as a reason for exonerating DSK, that would be wrong, and deal a
real blow to the right of women to prosecute rape charges.

Finally, I think everybody has the sacred right to lie on their immigration
papers.
Fred Feldman

The French media have stripped away her anonymity and published intimate
details of her childhood and life. Yesterday, the New York Times drew on a
letter to the defence from prosecutors released on Friday and interviews
with "well-placed" law enforcement officials to give in extraordinary detail
the prosecutors' investigation and the maid's questioning over hours in the
district attorney's hopefully aptly named Public Integrity Unit.

The New York Times describes how the prosecutors' view of "a very pious,
devout Muslim", the ideal witness (since rape is the only crime in which a
preferred requirement is that the alleged victim have an unrealistically
unblemished personal history) has emerged as a serial liar. In question is
her experience in her homeland of Guinea, her finances (bank records
allegedly show deposits of thousands of dollars), her immigration status,
her actions after the alleged attack and the company she keeps.

A phone call to her jailed boyfriend conducted in "a unique dialect of
Fulani" was recorded. She is alleged to have said words to the effect:
"Don't worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."

Her lawyer points out that in the conversation, his client also sticks to
her original story of the circumstances of the alleged assault. In the UK,
much of this information would be deemed sub judice and not offered up for
public consumption for fear of damaging the chances of a fair trial. In the
US, the scales of justice do not seem so well protected.

The case has also exposed a not unfamiliar tale of how men of power and
influence may have integrity in office, but there is little osmosis of that
virtue into their private lives: the personal is not political.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has had his bail conditions removed and he is
released from house arrest. It remains to be seen whether he will be
exonerated. Meanwhile, his accuser may have her day in court but not as
expected. She could face a charge of perjury and jail. Everyone has so far
paid a price. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has lost his job and, for now, an
opportunity to lead his country. But for the loyalty and resources of his
wife, Anne Sinclair, he could also have lost his liberty and his marriage.
In tandem, the new life the woman from Guinea has tried to build in the US
for herself and her 15-year-old daughter has been utterly demolished.

For both the accuser and the accused, the presumption of innocent until
proved guilty is buried somewhere deep in the rubble.G





More information about the Marxism mailing list