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Conspiracy Against Rights

December 16, 2011

“If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured— They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death. 241. Conspiracy against rights

crime of conspiracy – “…A person may become a member of a conspiracy without knowing all of the details of the unlawful scheme, and without knowing who all of the other members are. So, if a person has an understanding of the unlawful nature of a plan and knowingly and willfully joins in that plan on one occasion, that is sufficient to convict him for conspiracy even though he did not participate before, and even though he played only a minor part. Of course, mere presence at the scene of a transaction or event, or the mere fact that certain persons may have associated with each other, and may have assembled together and discussed common aims and interests, does not necessarily establish proof of a conspiracy. Also, a person who has no knowledge of a conspiracy, but who happens to act in a way which advances some purpose of one, does not thereby become a conspirator. A combination or agreement of two or more persons to join together to attempt to accomplish some unlawful purpose. It is a kind of ‘partnership in criminal purposes,’ and willful participation in such a scheme or agreement, followed by the commission of an overt act by one of the conspirators is sufficient to complete the offense of ‘conspiracy’ itself even though the ultimate criminal object of the conspiracy is not accomplished or carried out. To establish the offense of ‘conspiracy’ the Government must prove: (1) That two or more persons in some way or manner, came to a mutual understanding to try to accomplish a common and unlawful plan, as charged in the indictment; (2) That the person willfully became a member of such conspiracy; (3) That one of the conspirators during the existence of the conspiracy knowingly committed at least one of the methods (or ‘overt acts’) described in the indictment; and (4) That such ‘overt act’ was knowingly committed at or about the time alleged in an effort to effect or accomplish some object or purpose of the conspiracy. A person may become a member of a conspiracy without full knowledge of all of the details of the unlawful scheme or the names and identities of all of the other alleged conspirators. So, if a person has an understanding of the unlawful nature of a plan and knowingly and willfully joins in that plan on one occasion, that is sufficient to convict him for conspiracy even though he had not participated before and even though he played only a minor part. Of course, mere presence at the scene of a transaction or event, or the mere fact that certain persons may have associated with each other, and may have assembled together and discussed common aims and interests, does not necessarily establish proof of a conspiracy. Also, a person who has no knowledge of a conspiracy, but who happens to act in a way which advances some purpose of one, does not thereby become a conspirator. An agreement between two or more persons to do an unlawful act or an act which may become by the combination injurious to others. Formerly this offence was much more circumscribed in its meaning than it is now. Lord Coke describes it as ‘a consultation or agreement between two or more to appeal or indict an innocent person falsely and maliciously, whom accordingly they cause to be indicted or appealed and afterwards the party is acquitted by the verdict of twelve men.’ The crime of conspiracy, according to its modern interpretation, may be of two kinds, Damely, conspiracies against the public, or such as endanger the public health, violate public morals, insult public justice, destroy the public peace, or affect public trade or business. To remedy these evils the guilty persons may be indicted in the name of the commonwealth. Conspiracies against individuals are such as have a tendency to injure them in their persons, reputation, or property. The remedy in these cases is either by indictment or by a civil action…” (Conspiracy)

the right to privacy – “…There is international concern that the Patriot Act’s application could extend beyond the American borders and infringe upon the right to privacy of thousands of non-American citizens and foreign businesses. Canadians are particularly concerned that private information about citizens and businesses is no longer effectively protected by domestic laws, even though the protection of personal information has long been considered as a fundamental right in Canada under the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Internationally, states that have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations’ International Pact Regarding Civil and Political Rights would expect that international law enshrines the protection of personal information, either as a fundamental right or as an intrinsic part of the protection of human dignity and freedom. Martin Scheinin, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, has expressed concerned that the Patriot Act and the Detainee Treatment Act (2005) and America’s adverse developments in immigration and refugee policies, increased profiling and domestic surveillance, enhanced interrogation techniques, and a decline in press freedom, has weakened human rights globally and in America. Scheinin has said: “Despite the existence of a tradition in the United States of respect for the rule of law, and the presence of self-correcting mechanisms under the US Constitution, it is most regretful that a number of important mechanisms for the protection of rights have been removed or obfuscated under law and practice since the events of September 11….” (Patriot Act: A civil liberties breach or a foreign policy necessity?)

punishable by life imprisonment or death – “…Whoever, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against property or against the person of another in violation of the laws of the United States, and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent, solicits, commands, induces, or otherwise endeavors to persuade such other person to engage in such conduct, shall be imprisoned not more than one-half the maximum term of imprisonment or (notwithstanding section 3571) fined not more than one-half of the maximum fine prescribed for the punishment of the crime solicited, or both; or if the crime solicited is punishable by life imprisonment or death, shall be imprisoned for not more than twenty years. (b) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that, under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his criminal intent, the defendant prevented the commission of the crime solicited. A renunciation is not “voluntary and complete” if it is motivated in whole or in part by a decision to postpone the commission of the crime until another time or to substitute another victim or another but similar objective. If the defendant raises the affirmative defense at trial, the defendant has the burden of proving the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. (c) It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the person solicited could not be convicted of the crime because he lacked the state of mind required for its commission, because he was incompetent or irresponsible, or because he is immune from prosecution or is not subject to prosecution…” (Legal Terms Related to Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP))

Conspiracy against rights is a federal offense in the United States of America under 18 U.S.C. § 241: If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person […] in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death (Wikepedia).

Human rights in Canada – Since signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the Canadian government has attempted to make universal human rights a part of Canadian law. There are currently four key mechanisms in Canada to protect human rights: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and provincial human rights laws and legislation. The issue of human rights in Canada has not attracted significant controversy relative to human rights issues in other countries. Most Canadians believe the country to be a strong proponent and positive model of human rights for the rest of the world. For example, in 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. Canada does have to deal with some issues of human rights abuses that have attracted condemnation from international bodies, such as the United Nations. For example, some provinces still allow the use of religiously segregated schools. The treatment of Canada’s First Nations people or Aboriginal Canadians and the disabled also continues to attract criticism (Wikepedia).

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