Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Peter Hitchens on Pussy Riot case

After I published an article yesterday on the Pussy Riot case in Russia I came across an excellent piece on the subject on Peter Hitchens' blog.
The author approached the topic from a slightly different angle and compared the less than perfect behaviour of the Russian state in the realm of human rights with the far more egregious abuses carried out in Turkey, a thoroughly repressive state in several respects but a country which has, crucially, a certain strategic value to the west by virtue of which it gets away with a great deal.
As Hitchens explains, Turkey...
at the last count had 95 journalists behind bars, and where the bizarre and sinister Ergenekon prosecution is a pretext for the arrest (and often lengthy pre-trial detention) of opponents of Mr Erdogan, the country’s bossy, thin-skinned premier. The Economist, and other respectable organs , ceaselessly call Mr Erdogan’s government ‘mildly Islamist’ . What does he have to do to stop being called ‘mild’, I wonder?
The author also compares the Russian and English legal systems, and argues that whilst theirs is getting slightly better, it is at least moving very slowly in the right direction, whereas the English system is getting worse.

The item is well worth reading in its entirety and can be viewed here:

See also:

Monday, 20 August 2012

Would Pussy Riot have broken English law?

Pussy Riot member sporting communist t-shirt
I'm not sure what to think about the whole Pussy Riot furore. On the one hand I am all for freedom of speech and association. On the other hand I am very much an advocate of civility and law and order and find I find all forms of yobbery and anti-social behaviour thoroughly unpalatable.
An interesting question to ask is would Pussy Riot's little act of rebellion be illegal under English law?

The barrister  Neil Addison, who writes the Religion Law blog, argues that the act in question would indeed have broken a number of English laws, including section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, section 28 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, probably either s5 or s4A of the Public Order Act 1986, and would perhaps have constituted the offence of Aggravated Trespass under section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
The barrister goes on to explain that whilst he finds the sentence imposed excessive,
there is one aspect to the incident which has not been commented on in the British media and may explain why Orthodox believers in Russia were quite so outraged.  The Cathedral of Christ ...is a reconstruction of a Cathedral which was deliberately destroyed in 1931 as part of the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union... 
In the West we seem to have almost forgotten Communism and the evils it brought but people in Russia have not.  I notice that in Court one of the Pussy Riot demonstrators wore a R Shirt bearing a clenched fist and the words "No Pasaran" which was a slogan of the Spanish Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War.  It was a bit like appearing in a German Court wearing a T Shirt with a Nazi Slogan.  In those circumstances perhaps it is not surprising if Russians have taken a rather less rosy eyed view of the incident than that of the Western media.
It's a fascinating point.

Read the full article on the Religion Law blog here:

Religion Law Blog: Pussy Riot in a British Church

See also:

Russia Today: Pussy Riot copycats booted from German cathedral (VIDEO)

Russia Today: Pussy Riot on the run: Criminal case launched against other 'punk prayer' participants

Thursday, 16 August 2012


The Julian Assage saga really is turning into a fascinating spectacle. This report from Russia Today should serve as a useful summary of the latest developments.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Brutal Turkish invasion of Cyprus remembered in European Parliament

Poster in the European Parliament regarding the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus
I was in the European Parliament in Brussels recently when a display regarding the Cyprus presidency of the Council of the European Union caught my eye.

I took these snaps (above and below) of a couple of wall hangings which refer to the brutal and illegal occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkish invaders which occured in 1974 and continues to this day.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the people of Cyprus and I would recommend the website of the Lobby for Cyprus for anyone who wants to find out more about this important issue.

Here is a bit of background on the invasion taken from this site:
The northern area of Cyprus is currently under illegal occupation since the Turkish invasion of 1974.
On 15 July 1974 the military junta then ruling Greece carried out a short-lived coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Cyprus. On 20 July 1974, Turkey, using the coup as a pretext, launched a massive military invasion, purportedly to restore constitutional order. Despite the collapse of the coup, restoration of the legitimate government of Cyprus, and a ceasefire agreement, Turkey launched a second invasion on 14 August 1974. Turkey seized 36.2 percent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and it maintains an illegal military occupation in the northern areas of the island to this day.
In its invasions, Turkey conducted mass systematic human rights abuses against the Greek Cypriots, ethnically cleansing them from their ancestral lands.
Human rights violations have been and continue to be directed against Greek Cypriots because of their ethnicity, religion and language. Such discrimination is explicitly prohibited under the European Convention of Human Rights (article 14) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (article 21).
"...The Commission has found…that the acts violating the Convention were exclusively directed against members of…the Greek Cypriot community…Turkey has failed to secure the rights and freedoms set forth in these articles without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, race and religion as required by article 14 of the Convention..."
Council of Europe, European Commission of Human Rights, Application Nos. 6780/74 and 6950/75, Cyprus v. Turkey

For a wealth of further information on this issue the Action Cyprus is also worth a look. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Happy Yorkshire Day from Yorkshire English Democrats!

I would like to wish the readers of this blog a very happy Yorkshire Day!

Yorkshire English Democrats are working hard to build support for the party across the white rose county.

We have a number of days of action planned across North Yorkshire over the coming months, in which we aim to distribute tens, if not hundreds of thousands of English Democrats leaflets to recruit new members and raise our party's profile. In order to do this we need volunteers to help us. Our first day of action will take place on Saturday 18th August which will be held in Selby.

In addition to activism, we need to raise funds to pay for the leaflets to give to our activists to distribute.

If you can help please send any donation - however small - to us at:

North Yorkshire English Democrats
PO Box 116,
LS27 9WW.

Please make cheques payable to 'York English Democrats'

You can also donate via paypal by clicking on the 'donate' button on www.chrisbeverley.com (please mention on your paypal message that the donation is for North Yorkshire).

We also want to ensure the maximum turnout for our first day of action on August 18th. If you can help please email us at yorkshire@engdem.org . Please also contact us if you are interested in standing as a candidate.

Thank you for your support!

See also:

Discover Yorkshire Coast: The White Rose of Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Ridings Society: A White Rose to Minden