When persecution becomes prosecution: Professor Shen-Bayh discusses her new book
In a recent blog post for the London School of Economics, Professor Shen-Bayh, Assistant Professor of Government, gave an overview of her new book Undue Process. She argues that judicial processes can be used to legitimize dictatorship and dissuade dissent when power is contested. Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa since independence, she draws on fine-grained archival data on regime threats and state repression to explain why political trials are often political purges in disguise, providing legal cover for the persecution of regime rivals. Shen-Bayh's analysis reveals how courts can be used to repress political challengers, institutionalize punishment, and undermine the rule of law. "Indeed, when it comes to persecution as prosecution, the facts of the case are largely immaterial; rather, as Malcolm Feeley famously observed, the process is the punishment."