May 6, 2011
Archbishop uncomfortable over Osama Bin Laden’s killing
by Jan Harris
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed concern over the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US special forces on Monday.
When asked, at a press conference, if the US was morally justified in shooting him, Dr Williams said: “I think that the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done, in those circumstances.”
The archbishop also said that the US’s initial statement that Bin Laden was armed when killed, which was later retracted, had not helped the situation.
The legitimacy of the US’s action is being debated by international lawyers and human rights groups worldwide.
There are a number of contentious issues including whether Bin Laden is considered to have been a combatant in the US’s war with al-Qaida or whether he was a suspected criminal, in which case the normal legal process of arrest, trial and legal punishment should have been brought to bear.
It is not yet know if the mission included plans to capture bin Laden, and this could be an important factor in deciding whether his killing was lawful.
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