Wot’s All This Then?

Maryam tells us more about what happened to Reza Moradi at the free speech demonstration. The Washington Post, as I mentioned, reported that he was questioned by the police.

“It’s my freedom, everyone’s freedom, to expose these pictures and encourage everyone to do the same,” said Reza Moradi, 29, a protester who identified himself as an Iranian who has lived in Britain for eight years. Moradi was later questioned by police after someone lodged a complaint regarding the “nature of his placard,” which featured a copy of the Danish cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, a London police spokeswoman said. After a brief, heated exchange with officers, Moradi left the protest on his own and then rejoined the demonstration later.

Questioned by the police for what? For doing something perfectly legal, apparently. And now Maryam says ‘Reza Moradi was told he will be summoned to court for “offending” someone because he carried a placard with the Mohammad caricatures at the March 25 free speech rally’.

So we’ll have to keep an eye on that little item. It might be an idea to start embroidering the ‘Free Reza Moradi’ banners.

We don’t want him locked up; he does good work, which the New Humanist pointed out on March 7.

Here’s how the police explained their plans to ‘The World at One’ last Friday:

World at One: ‘What will happen if people turn up with banners displaying these cartoons showing the prophet Muhammed?’

P’lice: ‘Well first of all can I say that we’ve got no evidence to suggest that will happen, but our policing plan will have a number of measures to take into consideration anything that happens during the day, and clearly if people are turning up and doing anything that might cause concern, harrassment or distress then we have provisions to take action against that.’

World at One: ‘Do the police have a view as a result of the rallies that took place a month ago now on whether those images amount to a provocation to public order?’

P’lice: ‘We will deal with anything that arises on any public order event. Clearly we’ll have provision and we’ll have plans to deal with that. It would be wholly inappropriate to suggest that at this stage what our course of action will be; it will depend on the ambient circumstances for each incident. However you can rest assured that we do have provision to deal with anything that will happen on the day.’

It’s that public order act again, I suppose. It’s not illegal to carry cartoons around, but if they might cause someone to feel perturbed or melancholy or homesick or murderous, ohh well now that’s different. Question that bad man, summon him to court.

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