Han Solo Must Hang

Han Solo

His Excellency Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith

c/o Imperial Palace, Coruscant, and via hyperwave facsimile.

Greetings and Salutations Lord Vader!

I write on behalf of Mr. Biff Diddle, who wishes to provide his insight as an Amicus Curiae in the pending matter of Galactic Empire v. Solo, currently before you in your capacity as Imperial Legate and commanding officer of the Super Star Destroyer Executor. Mr. Diddle has asked me to provide you with his recommendation that the Defendant pirate Han Solo be sentenced to the highest measure allowed by Imperial law, which is to say, that Captain Solo be terminated by hanging.

STATEMENT OF INTEREST

Your Amicus Biff Diddle is Public Editor for The Washington Free Beacon, an award-winning journal of Critical Theory and Cultural Dialectic. Mr. Diddle's interest in this matter stems from the many, many injuries and outrages that he personally has suffered through the years as a result of Solo’s association with Ewoks, the traitorous Wookiee Chewbacca, and similar aesthetic and philosophical abominations.

UNDISPUTED FACTS

Though the record against Solo is well-developed, Mr. Diddle feels that a discussion of Solo’s past history as an incorrigible criminal, terrorist, and traitor to his Emperor must be considered before passing sentence. By his own admission, Solo is presently employed as a captain in the rebellion against the Empire. Before joining the rebellion, Solo was employed as a smuggler and self-confessed "scoundrel" on behalf of the Hutt Cartel of the Outer Rim on Tatooine. Solo is believed to have won his ship, the Millennium Falcon, in an illegal high stakes gambling match on that planet.

Before beginning his criminal career, Solo was at some point commissioned as an officer in the Imperial Star Fleet, where he apparently served with some level of distinction. As such, Solo is well aware of the Imperial and Republic Laws of War, as well as the Galactic Navigation Acts as they pertain to smuggling and piracy. Solo’s post-discharge career as a high space pirate is studded with a plethora of offenses, from the murder of the Rodian bounty hunter "Greedo" at the Mos Eisley spaceport cantina, to resisting arrest, harboring of fugitives, and the theft of imperial property in connection with his unlawful escape from Mos Eisley. Solo was captured by Governor Tarkin’s refugee relief task force following the destruction of Alderaan, at which point he aided the wanted terrorist Leia Organa in her escape. He is believed to have associated with members of the outlawed Jedi terror group, including the notorious Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. His ship was spotted among those attacking the "Defense Star" peace station in the infamous rebel sneak attack at Yavin 4.

In short, even before his most recent arrest Solo had proven himself to be one of the Galaxy’s most incorrigible and unrepentant felons, well deserving of the ultimate punishment provided by Imperial law.

PRESENT CHARGES AGAINST SOLO

As Your Excellency is aware, Solo stands charged with four acts of space piracy in connection with the recent terror suppression above the planet Hoth. He is also charged with resisting arrest, assault against the officers and crew of the ISS Avenger, and recklessly causing the death of its commanding officer Captain Needa. Finally, Solo is also charged with assault with a deadly weapon against your person, as well as the bounty hunter Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian, the administrator of the Bespin gas mining colony, who reported Solo’s fugitive presence to the Imperial Star Fleet following an unauthorized attempt to land there.

The charges against Solo are indeed grave. They would merit a sentence of termination in any civilian admiralty court, should a jury find guilt. However, Solo’s crimes in the present case were committed in the Outer Rim systems, which have been designated a war zone by His Imperial Highness for the duration of the present emergency. Therefore, as the senior commanding officer present, Your Excellency is permitted to pass judgment upon Solo for his crimes.

Solo’s guilt for these offenses is beyond question. His ship’s transponder signals were recorded by the onboard navigation systems of each of the four TIE fighters lost in the asteroid field surrounding the Hoth system, as well as by the Star Destroyer Avenger before Solo blasted off for the Bespin system. As captain and master of the Millennium Falcon, Solo is tasked with responsibility for the acts of his crew, so it will do him no good to plead that the attacks upon our fighters and ships were committed by his Wookiee underling. In addition, over twenty officers and men of your personal guard have testified to the assaults committed against Your Excellency, Fett, and Calrissian in the Bespin conference center refreshment room. The only legitimate question before you is the appropriate sentence.

SOLO MUST BE SENTENCED TO TERMINATION BY HANGING FOR HIS CRIMES

The ultimate penalty is warranted by two considerations: First, Solo’s flight from arrest and subsequent attacks upon his lawful imperial captors were committed while acting as a non-uniformed combatant on behalf of the terrorist rebellion against the Empire; second, Solo’s guilt for the offense of piracy upon the high spacelanes warrants a sentence of termination in and of itself. The traditional and lawful penalty for piracy, of course, is termination by hanging.

As is well known, the laws of the Empire are the Emperor’s gift to his subjects. To the extent not modified by Imperial Decree, those laws are based upon the laws and precedents of the former fallen Galactic Republic. In the former Republic, and indeed through ancient memory dating back to lost Terra itself, the act of rebellion against a lawful sovereign has been punishable by termination. In Solo’s case, that rebellion was committed by attacking while occupying an unmarked, civilian ship, the Millennium Falcon, which through special modifications by Solo has been converted into an unmarked vessel of war. As Solo himself has boasted, the Millennium Falcon is reportedly fast enough that it can travel the notorious "Kessel Run" in less than twelve parsecs. No ordinary civilian ship can approach such speeds.

The Falcon is therefore an unmarked vessel of war, and its captain and crew are to be treated as non-uniformed combatants.

As a combatant out of uniform (not to mention a rebel against his Emperor), Solo is not entitled to prisoner-of-war status. He is merely a terrorist and a rebel. Precedent dating back to the oldest case of which we have record, the "Luanda case" of lost Terra, 1976 C.E., confirms that Solo’s status as a uniformless mercenary warrants his termination.

Moreover, Solo is a notorious buccaneer and pirate. In the present matter, Solo is charged with the destruction of four Imperial TIE Fighters and the attempted hijacking and destruction of the Star Destroyer Avenger, whose captain Needa bravely gave his life to save his ship and crew from capture. Piracy upon the spaceways, and even before the invention of the hyperdrive, upon the high seas, has traditionally been punished through termination by hanging. This is confirmed not just by Imperial law, but by ancient precedent dating back to The Piracy Act of 1837 (7 Will 4 & 1 Vict c 88), in which the Empress Victoria of Terra declared that "ye pirasy with ye violense" must be punished through termination.

Mr. Diddle understands that Your Excellency is considering a lesser punishment for Solo, namely imprisonment through carbonite freezing and delivery to Jabba the Hutt in connection with the payment of smuggling debts. Mr. Diddle implores you not to send the wrong message to future pirates and rebel scum: that the Empire takes offenses against its soldiers and ships so leniently. Under carbonite freezing, Captain Solo should be quite well protected, if he survives the freezing process. This would be a mere "slap on the wrist," a trivial punishment indeed in light of the grave offenses with which Solo is charged.

We strongly urge Your Excellency to sentence Solo to the only penalty appropriate in this matter, namely termination by hanging, for the protection of the Empire and its children.

With highest regards,

Patrick Nonwite, Imperial Bar of Coruscant

Attorney for Biff Diddle, Amicus Curiae.