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Five Muslims Found Guilty Of Abusing UK Troops

PTI 12 Jan 2010, 12:14:37 IST

Five men who hurled abuses at UK soldiers at a home-coming parade and called them "murderers, rapists and baby killers" in Luton last year were on Monday  found guilty of making threats.

The charges related to a march through the town on 10th March 2009, a judge at Luton Magistrates' Court heard.

The five men, all from Luton, were convicted of using threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour likely to cause harassment and distress. Two of the protesters have been cleared of all charges.

Jalal Ahmed, 21, Yousaf Bashir, 29, Ziaur Rahman, 32, Shajjadar Choudhury, 31, Munim Abdul, 28, were found guilty while Ibrahim Anderson, 32, and Jubair Ahmed, 19, also from Luton, were acquitted. All had denied the charges.

While finding the five men guilty, district Judge Carolyn Mellanby said, "I have no doubt it is abusive and insulting to tell soldiers to 'Go to hell' – to call soldiers murderers, rapists and baby killers."

"It is not just insulting to the soldiers but to the citizens of Luton who were out on the streets that day to honour and welcome soldiers home. Citizens of Luton are entitled to demonstrate their support for the troops without experiencing insults and abuse."

The judge said: "The fact that they say they did not intend their remarks to be insulting does not amount to defence in law. They were fully aware that shocking phrases in such circumstances would inevitably cause distress." Defence lawyers had argued the right to freedom of speech was at stake.