Prime Minister, governor and corrupt judges expelled by king

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WHEN corruption is rampant in a country, the judiciary becomes the point of salvation. This is because judges serve as watchful guards to achieve justice. However, when the virus of interests enters this edifice, it becomes necessary for someone to urgently straighten the process, even if there is a great risk, such as a bold judge losing his privileges but eventually achieving justice and taking the risk.

In this regard, I remembered the story of Judge Shams al-Din al-Hariri who was an official in one of the provinces in an ancient Muslim country. He was known to be bold in his judgments and not afraid of anyone. He did not receive any gifts from anyone, and due to his firm stances regarding the law, he made many enemies.

At one time, when the district judge died, Shams al-Din was appointed in his place. He soon discovered that the one in charge of the district was corrupt, violated people’s rights, dishonored their women, and killed everyone who stood in his way. It was difficult to confront him for his crimes without an explicit confession from him either personally or with clear evidence.

Therefore, Shams al-Din worked to consolidate his relationship with the official, who was nicknamed Ashram, such that the latter entrusted him with his secrets. When he was reassured of him, Shams al-Din devised a plot for him, which was to tell him that the governor had lost his favor with the Prime Minister, due to which Ashram became a danger to them.

Sham al-Din advised him to write a letter to his friend the governor about all his crimes in the hope that the latter would help him.

Shams al-Din delivered the letter to the governor but only after making a copy of the letter, and keeping the original copy.

He traveled to the capital city to meet the king. As soon as the king learned of the charges, he ordered the formation of a court session immediately headed by the chief of judges. Because the latter was a partner in corruption, he tried to pressure Shams al-Din into withdrawing his case, but Shams al-Din persisted.

At that point, the chief justice set a date for the court to convene. On the morning of that day, a fire broke out in his house and burnt a set of documents including Ashram’s confession letter and the governor’s letter to him that reassured him of his support and protection and claimed that no one can touch him.

The Chief Justice then sought to conclude a deal with Shams al-Din, which was that the latter would withdraw his case in exchange for recommending him before the king. He accepted the deal, but when he appeared before the head of state, he said, “I accuse the Chief Justice, and the Prime Minister, as well as the governor of covering up a corrupt and immoral criminal. This is my evidence”. He then pulled out from his pocket the original copy of Ashram’s confessions, and the governor’s letter to him.

The king became angry and said, “When corruption spreads, even among senior officials, devastation will prevail in the country, and the state will collapse”.

He then ordered the dismissal of the prime minister and his grandson – the governor, and also ordered the arrest of Ashram. He then appointed Shams al-Din as the Prime Minister due to his honesty and his pursuit of justice at all costs.

When there is a ruler who fears for his country, he must seek the truth from its owners, and choose officials who are not blinded by greed.

This is why during World War II, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to inspect the destruction that befell London as a result of the bombing of German planes. As he inspected the damage, he inquired about neither the economy nor health, fuel, or the exchange rate of the sterling pound. He instead asked about the judiciary, and whether it was okay and still far from bribery and corruption. When he was given the answer “Yes”, his response was decisive, “Rest assured, as long as the judiciary is fine, then Britain is fine.”

Here, Churchill wanted to establish the principle that the continuity of justice in the state is evidence of its strength and ability to get out of its crisis, because judges are the salt of the homeland.

If this edifice is damaged in any country, then things start to fall apart. We have in a group of Arab countries the best example of the failure of institutions because justice is absent in the judiciary.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 25578 times!

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