In Europe, prison life sentences without review have been ruled as an unjust violation of human rights. Life sentences are unusual in Europe, given only to those who are convicted of the most heinous of crimes. A handful of such “lifers” have gone to the courts, requesting a review of their cases with the hopes of an early release.
In 1996 Peter Moore, now 66, was sentenced to life in prison for killing four gay men in a four-month period. At the time of his trial, Moore told the court that the murders were committed by a lover he called “Jason,” named after the murderer in the Friday the 13th movies, according to Pink News.
Moore submitted a court appeal for judges to reconsider his life sentence, believing it violates his human rights. A group of judges ruled in a vote 16 to 1 that Moore’s case, along with two other lifelong jail inmates, would be considered for review of a possible early release.
An eye for an eye? A life for a life? How about four lives for one free man? Being jailed for life for murdering four innocent men doesn’t seem overly radical or extreme, to me, at least. If you purposefully take the life of not just one, but four people, there must be serious consequences. Some may even argue that the death sentence would be appropriate. Many would wholeheartedly agree that a life sentence in prison is more than fair.
“What the court is saying is that a judge can no longer tell the most appalling criminals that they will never be released,” said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, according to The Sun. “I think the people who wrote the original Human Rights Convention would be turning in their graves at this ruling,” he continued.
Peter Moore, along with Douglas Vinter, who stabbed his wife to death in 2008, and Jeremy Bamber, who killed his mother, father, sister and her twin sons, will have a chance to have their cases reviewed.
The men believe that their whole-life sentences are “inhuman” and “degrading” and breach their human rights, according to Pink News. I wonder what the victims whose lives were cut short feel about their murderers’ “inhuman” and “degrading” life sentences… mind you, the murderers still have their lives.
Regardless, the judges ruled July 9 that Moore’s case (as well as Vinter’s and Bamber’s) will be subject to review under the possibility of an early release. The ruling was made as an effort to stay in line with the guidelines presented by the European Convention of Human Rights.