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Video clips: Judicial whipping


With notes by C. Farrell

Communal CP in Africa -- 2 clips.

Clip 1 of 2

Date found: 2011
Duration: 1½-minutes

In this (evidently incomplete) film from an unidentified African country, we see what I think is a traditional village punishment, made "official" by the presence of the police and the army. The man being dealt with is said to be a thief. I imagine the punishment will have been decided upon by village elders.

The culprit is led to the flogging place, accompanied by a large number of local citizens. There seems to be some confusion about who is going to administer the punishment. The offender lies face down on the ground, probably the most typical African modus operandi.

At least one member of the general public tries to join in the whipping and has to be restrained. A representative of the army is attempting to keep control.

At some point (there is an edit in the film) the miscreant has had his trousers pulled down to bare his buttocks, and we see him pulling them up as he stands. He then receives some more punishment in a standing position. There is a good deal of shouting and muddle, and some hilarity when the stick used by a policeman immediately breaks in two. At least one member of the audience starts raging indignantly at the policeman, but it is not clear why.


Clip 2 of 2

Date found: 2014
Duration: 3 minutes

This clip shows what appears to be an ill-disciplined vigilante mob in the open air, holding down an alleged thief on a pile of mattresses and whipping him on the back, buttocks and legs, with long canes of some kind. There is a lot of struggling and shouting and confusion, and the punishment seems disorderly and random. It is debatable whether this sort of thing, clearly outside the rule of law, can really be properly described as corporal punishment.


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