LA News Release, Abu Hamza Conviction a Defeat for Free Speech, 8th February 2006
NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
Release Date: Wednesday 8th February 2006
Release Time: Immediate
Dr Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199, email@example.com
ABU HAMZA CONVICTION "A DEFEAT FOR FREE SPEECH", SAYS FREE MARKET AND CIVIL LIBERTIES THINK TANK
The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today condemns the conviction of Abu Hamza al-Masri, of 11 charges of soliciting murder and of stirring up racial hatred and for using his sermons to encourage his followers to murder non-Moslems. Mr Masri was also convicted of inciting racial hatred and possessing a 10-volume "Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad," which prosecutors called "a blueprint for terrorism." The manual included instructions on how to make explosives and identified Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower as potential terrorist targets.
Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:
"The rights to freedom of speech and association are fundamental to a free society. So far as these rights are diminished, that society becomes less free. I was born in a country where these rights had been enjoyed for centuries. I have reached middle age in a politically correct police state where the Government is now trying to silence its opponents through the courts. Particularly under Tony Blair, this country has become a more genteel version of Zimbabwe.
"Mr Masri is a deeply unpleasant man. He hates our civilisation. It is entirely valid to ask why he has been allowed into our country to bring up seven children on welfare benefits paid by us. But there is a clear common sense distinction between speaking and acting. Mr Masri has not been convicted of doing any of the wicked things he recommends. Nor has he been convicted of plotting attacks on any identified individual. Therefore, he has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for expressing opinions. He is a prisoner of conscience.
"Doubtless, there are people who take offence at the expression of certain views. But free speech that does not include the right to give offence is not free speech. It is the political equivalent of decaffeinated coffee.
"If people are upset by what they read or hear, let them ignore it or argue against it. There is no place in these debates for the Thought Police."
The Libertarian Alliance believes:
* That the Race Relations Act 1976 should be repealed;
* That the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 should be repealed;
* That, pending repeal, the Race Regulations subsequent to these Acts should be withdrawn;
* That those sections of the Public Order Act 1986 dealing with speech and publication should be repealed;
* That those sections of the Criminal Justice Act 1998 dealing with "racial aggravation" of offences should be repealed;
* That the Commission for Racial Equality and all similar organisations should be abolished, and their records burned;
* That all those convicted of thought crimes under the above laws should be pardoned and, where appropriate, compensated;
* That the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill now before Parliament should be abandoned;
* That the Terrorism Bill now before Parliament should be abandoned;
* That the Human Rights Act 1998 should be amended to protect the right of people to say anything they like about public issues, and to associate or not associate as they please.
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