Author Topic: Arrested over FB comments ...  (Read 404 times)

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Offline plethora

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Arrested over FB comments ...
« on: March 13, 2012, 07:04:43 AM »
http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16187397

Quote
A teenager will appear in court after being arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.

Azhar Ahmed, 19, is said to have posted the comments on his profile page and has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, was criticising the level of attention the British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received compared to Afghan civilians who have died in the war.

My first reaction to this is that this is a violation of a person's right to free speech and to freely express their views, no matter how unpopular they may be.

... but then again ... this is about 6 specific soldiers who have been named. So one could argue that he crossed the line when he targeted specific people.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Offline Luke

Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 07:11:56 AM »
There are a few restrictions to free speech in the UK, particularly concerning hate speech.
Here's what he actually said:
http://casualsunited.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/azhar-ahmed-in-court-over-disrepecting-dead-british-troops/

I'm not sure why that constitutes a racially aggravated offense, though.




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Offline plethora

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 08:41:15 AM »
Thanks for the link  ;)

Right ... his comment is not targeting any specific people. He is just expressing an opinion. There are 16 comments there so obviously I don't know if he posted anything further that contained the alleged 'racially aggravated offence'.

I'm sorry but I definitely have to defend this person's right to free speech. Being arrested over this is ridiculous.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline Luke

Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 08:58:36 AM »
I think it would be ridiculous for him to be convicted over this. Arrested... maybe a little, although if someone reports an offense it isn't the police forces job to judge the legality. If they are unsure then they have to leave it for the court to decide.

This might not go any further than a preliminary hearing. It shouldn't.

Offline Bad Pear

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 10:44:01 AM »
I think it would be ridiculous for him to be convicted over this. Arrested... maybe a little, although if someone reports an offense it isn't the police forces job to judge the legality. If they are unsure then they have to leave it for the court to decide.

This might not go any further than a preliminary hearing. It shouldn't.

It's also not the police forces job to arrest someone based solely on someone else's allegation of offense. There is no immediate danger present here, meaning that this should have stopped when the warrant hit the desk of the judge who should have never signed it.

^-That's what I would say if this was in America. I have next to no working knowledge of the UK's legal system.
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Offline Luke

Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 11:39:15 AM »
It is the Police Force's job to investigate crimes that are reported. In this case the evidence was in a public (ish) place, and not something that would require a warrant to search his premises.

What probably happened is that he would have been asked to make a statement about an alleged offense, and then (this being a fairly new piece of legislation) the police would have passed it over to the Crown Prosecution Service who obviously did a Pontius Pilate on it and decided that a Judge should make the decision.

Offline plethora

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 05:01:44 AM »
The part that fucks me up is that the guy was physically arrested and he had to be bailed out. A court summons for a hearing would have been enough. Why arrest the poor bastard? Fucking bullshit.
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Offline hickdive

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 05:42:17 AM »
The part that fucks me up is that the guy was physically arrested and he had to be bailed out. A court summons for a hearing would have been enough. Why arrest the poor bastard? Fucking bullshit.

Because before you can appear in court you must be charged with an offence. Before you can be charged you must be arrested.
Stupidity, unlike intelligence, has no limits.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 06:35:00 AM »
So much for freedom of expression? Aye, I think it's disrespectful of the soldiers, but to an extent he kind of has a point, I see so much about people mourning the death of soldiers, soldiers people never even new (see Facebook comments of people cheering on the soldiers and mourning when we lose people) but I don't see much about people mourning for the innocents who die.

As much as I dislike his comment about the soldiers and find it offensive, I believe he has the right to say those things. It's his opinion and he has the freedom to express it. We live in a country where the BNP is a legitimate political party and we defend their right to say stupid and ignorant things out of 'freedom of expression' so I find the idea that he can be charged  for saying those things to be hypocritical. Nick Griffin has said far more detestable things.
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Offline Luke

Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 06:46:21 AM »
The part that fucks me up is that the guy was physically arrested and he had to be bailed out.
This isn't America. You don't get "bailed out".

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 09:43:23 AM »
There are a few restrictions to free speech in the UK, particularly concerning hate speech.
Here's what he actually said:
http://casualsunited.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/azhar-ahmed-in-court-over-disrepecting-dead-british-troops/

I'm not sure why that constitutes a racially aggravated offense, though.




"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Read through that article, left a comment a little while ago (under the alias 'Spongebob'), I find it interesting that its site moderator hasn't approved it. Notice the one comment disagreeing with them that was allowed through was so they could 'laugh' at it. Searched through the site, seems to be an EDL (English Defence League) group and I've spoken to some rather likeable EDL members who try to emphasise that they're not about fascism, but they're against it, namely Sharia Law, which is something I could support (Sharia Law is balls and it shouldn't be used in our courts), which is also exactly what their website claims too and also that they allow Muslims to join because they are in no way prejudiced, but after perusing this website seems to support the claims by UAF on EDL (Unite Against Fascism, EDL's mortal enemy) more and I don't like the UAF either. :( I used to support them, but ironically they're too fascist for my liking.  :P
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline plethora

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 09:54:46 AM »
The part that fucks me up is that the guy was physically arrested and he had to be bailed out.
This isn't America. You don't get "bailed out".

I'm from New York so I speak American English. Been living here in "Blighty" for 7 years now.

The article says "He has been bailed to an address outside the county." Sounds close enough to me ;)
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline Luke

Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2012, 05:58:27 AM »
Yeah, but it isn't the same process. Nobody has to put up any money to get you out of the clink, you are just released and told when to turn up for court. He didn't have to be bailed out, he was released on Bail.

Maybe I'm being anal, but my point here is that there isn't significant hardship in being arrested and released on bail.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 06:00:38 AM by Luke »

Offline plethora

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 06:45:24 AM »
^^^ gotcha. I wasn't aware of that.

Meanwhile ... another case of someone getting arrested over what they said online:
http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16191419

I just don't like people getting arrested over voicing their opinions and ideas over social media.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2012, 09:45:34 AM »
If his name was George Worthington or Lowell Percy, he wouldn't be noticed. But it is Azbar Ahmed, which I suspect is of muslim or at least middle east origin, and I suspect he scared a few people.

Killing innocents is bad. Being a soldier and dying is bad. Being angry that people are dying who shouldn't is good. Lashing out in anger is fruitless. Having a middle-eastern name in a country full of prejudice is chancy.

We Americans live in a country where virtually every black male has been AFBB (Arrested for being black). Just last week a 17 year old black kid died in Florida, SFBK (Shot for buying Skittles). I suspect the British reaction to the facebook posting is as much racist as anything. Of course, the poster wasn't exactly expressing universal concern for all living beings.

But the issue is freedom, and being able to express ourselves should not be as limited as it appears to be in this case. Some would say this is close to yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. I don't think it's quite that bad. And now that he is getting press, his words are being spread much wider than if they could have just been left on Facebook for his friends to see. Of course, presumably at least one of them wasn't a friend. Or he wouldn't have this problem.

People who live in unhealthy societies are not likely to voluntarily limit themselves to benign milquetoasty comments about the weather and fashion trends. Those who care will be pissed. And mention it.

And the scared will arrest.

None of it is right. His anti-social behavior is not the wrongest thing being done in this scenario. And certainly not the only racism expressed.

Everyone involved is wrong.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Arrested over FB comments ...
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2012, 10:38:23 AM »
Nick Griffin can openly deny the holocaust[1], find homosexuality sick[2], express his racist views about 'white survivalists' as he calls it (he doesn't want people thinking he's a white supremacist)[3] and not only that have him as a legitimate political leader of a legitimate political party, despite being a former member of 'The National Front' who actively discriminated against non-whites, including violent attacks and it's something Nick Griffin's supporters still do, which is no surprise[4], but he hides behind the guise of 'I care about immigration, I'm not racist'. He may support boxing champions like Amir Khan and may have praised a black separatist, but to me that sounds like the excuse, "I'm not racist! I have black friends". :P

But a foreigner says something ignorant about our soldiers, he must be arrested! Given Nick Griffin actually have political power in the UK and a large number of followers I know whose views I consider to be the most dangerous...yet I still support his party's freedom of expression (denying it won't stop them from believing what they believe, it just means we become ignorant of it).

Hooray for hypocrisy.
 1. "I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the earth is flat… I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria" -Nick Griffin
 2. "The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world's journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive." -Nick Griffin
 3. "Without the White race, nothing matters. [Other right-wing parties] believe that the answer to the race question is integration and a futile attempt to create ‘Black Britons’, while we affirm that non-Whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land" - Nick Griffin
 4. "When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate. We have to have a body of trained young men capable of defending our organisation. If people come to crack our heads we will break theirs." -Nick Griffin
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 10:42:28 AM by Seppuku »
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.