UK cartoons protestor convicted for inciting race hatred

UK cartoons protestor convicted for inciting race hatred

[JURIST] A UK man was convicted Thursday of inciting racial hatred during a February protest [BBC report] in London against publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive]. Mizanur Rahman, 23, was arrested after a rally at the Danish embassy in Chelsea and also charged with inciting murder, but the jury could not reach a verdict on that matter. During his trial at the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey [official website], prosecutors presented evidence that Rahman had called for more September 11-style attacks throughout Europe and for UK troops in Iraq to be sent home in body bags, while carrying a placard reading "Annihilate those who insult Islam." Rahman remains in custody until the prosecution decides whether a retrial on the issue of inciting murder should take place.

Defense counsel John Burton told the jury that offensive remarks could not sustain a conviction, asking them whether Rahman had exercised his freedom of speech or had committed a serious crime. Rahman stated during the trial that he did not think anyone would take him seriously. BBC News has more.