A Scottish court has delayed action against a leading Palestine activist, but left him facing terrorism charges and with repressive bail conditions.
Police snatched Mick Napier, a founder of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, at a protest in Glasgow last month.
He had given a speech saying, “I agree with the Palestinian right to resist by means that they choose.”
The state charged him with “support for a proscribed organization” under the Terrorism Act 2000.
In the speech, he had also thanked Hamas “for breaking out of the Gaza concentration camp on October 7.”
On Tuesday the court put back a hearing for four weeks but maintained very harsh bail conditions. These include a complete ban on attending any protest in Scotland at all, as well as a ban from entering the centre of Glasgow, the city where he grew up and spends much of his time.
The Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee in Glasgow said, “We continue to strongly condemn the decision by Glasgow sheriff court to delay Mick Napier’s hearing, as well as the previous decision to ban him from protesting against the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
“Peaceful protest is a fundamental right, and any attempt to curtail speech raises critical questions about the democratic principles that our society should uphold for its citizens.
“Mick Napier has consistently spoken out against the atrocities in Gaza.
“The charges against him, coupled with the ban on his right to protest, are deeply troubling and indicative of a concerning trend of suppressing those who raise their voices against injustice.
“It appears that the prosecution may be encountering challenges in assembling a charge that will withstand legal scrutiny, raising doubts about the validity of the case.
“This delay, coupled with the ban on protest, seems to be a cynical move aimed at denying Mick Napier his basic political rights to free speech and free association. such actions not only erode democratic principles but also infringe upon the very rights that are meant to protect individuals expressing dissent.
“Moreover, this situation needs to be seen in the context of many years of serious legal harassment that Mick Napier has faced and successfully defeated in courts across Scotland. the persistent legal challenges suggest a pattern of targeting and attempting to silence an individual who has consistently advocated for justice and human rights.
“We reiterate our call on Glasgow sheriff court to reconsider both decisions and recognise the utmost importance of free expression in a democratic society.
“The charges against Mick Napier should undergo a thorough examination, ensuring a fair and just legal process.
“Especially in times of ongoing genocide, the ability of individuals to peacefully assemble and voice their concerns is paramount. banning someone from protesting against the indiscriminate genocide in Gaza is not only a disheartening setback for human rights but also a worrying infringement on the principles that underpin a democratic society.
“We stand in unwavering solidarity with Mick Napier and all individuals who courageously advocate for justice, urging the protection of their rights to free speech, free association, and peaceful protest. The legal system must ensure that these fundamental rights are upheld, fostering an environment where dissenting voices can contribute to the broader discourse on human rights and justice.”
As the Scottish PSC said, “The most suitable response to this harassment is to maintain and intensify your activity for Palestinian freedom.”
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