HUMAN RIGHTS: An Outbreak of Martial Law

The problem of maintaining order—but not too much

In countries as diverse as Iran, Nicaragua and Rhodesia, the first response of the three beleaguered governments to civil emergencies this month was to impose martial law. In Rhodesia this meant little, since the country had been under military control since the guerrilla war began six years ago. In Iran the Shah's declaration brought a clampdown on civil liberties and empowered the army to arrest without charges and to invade homes without warrants. In Nicaragua martial law merely underscored Anastasio Somoza's desperate situation. Said a...

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