Arrest Of Cannibals Highlights Need For Legislation

The arrest of two Pakistani cannibals for the second time demonstrates the importance of introducing legislation against this heinous act.

This is just bizarre. Two Pakistani brothers who were earlier sentenced due to cannibalism have been arrested again for consuming human flesh after the head of a boy was discovered at their house.

The brothers, Arif and Farman, were earlier arrested in 2011 after they were found guilty of devouring up to 150 corpses taken from local graveyards.

Interestingly, Pakistan, like most of the countries of the world, has no specific laws against cannibalism. In 2011, the brothers were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order section of the Pakistan Penal Code and sentenced to two years in prison along with Rs. 50,000 in fines.

Even here, there are no anti-cannibalism laws at the federal level. Cannibals are either convicted of murder or defiling of corpses. Considering the heinousness of the crime, the absence of specific legislation is appalling, to say the least.

There have been numerous instances of cannibalism around the world in the 21st Century. In some cases, prosecutors found it considerably difficult to convict the offenders of the right crime.

Perhaps the most prolific of such cases is the trial of Armin Meiwes in Germany. In 2001, Meiwes posted an internet ad seeking a young man willing “to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Bernd Jürgen Brandes responded to the ad volunteering for the task. After engaging in gratuitously violent acts, Meiwes stabbed Brandes, chopped his body into several pieces and stored it in the freezer. At the time of his arrest, Meiwes had already consumed 20 kg of the flesh. He was convicted of first manslaughter and the later murder but no charges of cannibalism were imposed on him.

Another horrific example is of Canadian sculptor and artist Rick Gibson who consumed human body parts in London streets on several occasions. However, since cannibalism is not illegal in England, he escaped conviction. He tried the same in Canada but the charge of publicly exhibiting a disgusting object was dropped and he later ate a piece of human testicle on the steps of the Vancouver court house.

Incidents like these signify the importance of introducing legislation against cannibalism around the world.

This is where the debate of moral justification of cannibalism comes in. Murdering people for consumption is obviously wrong. Resorting to cannibalism in life-threatening situations is another case, but consuming a human corpse out of choice is absolutely unacceptable.

Imagine being in the position of the family members of the deceased Pakistanis that were consumed. Since it is a disturbing thought to begin with, it is absolutely immoral.

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