Mr. Heap to Mr. Hunter.
Tunis , June 2, 1873. (Received June 25.)
Sir: I have the satisfaction of stating that the Bey sent an officer yesterday to inform me that he had tried the four persons accused of the murder of the dragoman of the consular agent at Bizerta, that they were found guilty in different degrees, and sentenced as follows: One to the galleys for life with hard labor in chains, and the bastinado; the others to imprisonment for life.
- According to the Mohammedan criminal law, no one convicted of murder can be sentenced to the death penalty, unless the conviction is [Page 1137] upon the dying declaration of the murdered person, or the evidence of witnesses of the fact. No circumstantial evidence, however conclusive, is sufficient to obtain a death-sentence. In this case all the evidence was circumstantial, and I am satisfied that the Bey has inflicted the highest penalties allowed by his law.
- It is probable, however, that this result would not have been obtained had it not been for the intimation that a naval force would be sent here if justice was delayed. The Bey is very friendly and well disposed, but is, unfortunately, not always seconded in his good disposition by the officials that surround him. * * * *
- I have informed Admiral Alden of the conclusion of this affair, and that it will be unnecessary to send a naval force here.
I have, &c.,