Monday, June 27 2016

SDL supporter sentenced for racist Facebook posts

Islamophobia Watch alerts us to a report on STV relating the sentence passed by an Edinburgh court on a Scottish Defence League supporter who posted racist messages on Facebook.

From STV:

“A man who used his Facebook account to post racist messages has been given community service.

“Raymond Strachan, 21, used the social networking site to promote his support of fascist group the Scottish Defence League.

“On Tuesday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Strachan visited various pages on Facebook and left various messages on them in an attempt to stir up racial hatred.

The report states that Strachan has been posting offensive, racist messages since July 2011 but was only caught in January this year following complaints lodged by other internet users.

STV continues: “The postings, made from his house and other locations in Edinburgh, abused various different racial groups.

“Strachan was convicted of breaching the 1986 Public Order Act at a hearing last month.

“Sheriff William Holligan [sentenced] him to 200 hours of community service."

Prosecuting, John Logue warned that the sentence was a message that offences committed over the internet are not “immune from the reach of the law”, and that "Prejudice and hatred has no place in Scotland and we will continue to do all in our powers to eradicate it."

Reporting of such offences has become increasingly frequent and there have been a number of recent arrests and prosecutions against people who have posted Islamophobic, racist and threatening comments on Facebook. They include the recent prosecution of two men who posted an offensive remark about a Muslim praying in public; the prosecution of a man who incited rioting and attacking Muslims on Facebook; and the arrest of a man who threatened an ‘Oslo-style’ attack on Asian restaurants on his Facebook page.

The most recent statistics on charges for hate crimes in Scotland 2011-12 reveal that both racially aggravated and religiously aggravated hate crimes have reached their highest level since statistics were recorded in 2006. A total of 4,518 charges relating to race hate crimes were reported in 2011-12, up 8% from the previous year. 897 charges relating to religiously aggravated hate crimes were recorded in 2011-12, up 29% on the previous year. Further breakdown on religion and ethnicity is not available, although statistics from the Scottish police show that Asians (includes Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Chinese) constitute 46% of victims of race hate crimes on police records of racist incidents.

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