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Edinburgh 5 accused of `aggravated racism`

Paul O'Hanlon | 01.10.2009 20:56 | University Occupations for Gaza | Anti-racism | Palestine | World

Here is a short account with 4 photos of the hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court of the 5 members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign accused of `aggravated racism`

`Edinburgh 5` accused of `aggravated racism`

Five members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign are charged with ‘racially aggravated conduct’ following a protest against the Israeli siege of Gaza. They interrupted a performance during the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival by an Israeli musical ensemble, the Jerusalem Quartet, whose admirers had written of them that, ‘holding a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement’. The four enjoyed the double official status of ‘Cultural Ambassadors’ of the State of Israel and ‘Distinguished IDF Musicians’

The five members of Scottish Palestine Solidarity campaign accused of `aggravated racism` are Neil, Mick, Sofiah, Vanesa and Kevin.

The hearing at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court on Chambers Street took place with Sheriff Nigel Morrison QC presiding. The proceedings (if they could be called `proceedings` - non-events would probably be a fairer description) dragged on from about 10.00am to about 2.15pm when an adjournment was asked for until `a two day debate` could take place on Thursday November 5th and Friday November 6th 2009.

The hearing did not actually start until 12.20pm and it was difficult to hear what was going on – there was talk of `devolution minutes` and `anti-social behaviour act 2004` and `section 44 paragraph 7` and `unnecessary interpretation of paragraph 6` - jargon that was difficult for an observer to follow as no minutes or official papers were made available. Cameras and pocket recorders are not allowed in the courts which did not help either.

There was an adjournment for lunch at 1.03pm – officially until 2.00pm - though the court did not actually start again until 2.12pm.

Finally, after lunch, the judge (Sheriff Morrison) agreed to consider the “devolution minute” (legal challenge) regarding the Crown’s attempt to limit the group’s freedom of speech (criminalising criticism of Israel) after hearing the Crown’s evidence (essentially the 5 or 6 security guards who ejected them from the performance of the Jerusalem Quartet).

There were a total of 23 people in the public gallery and this was an encouraging attendance. If the matter does go to the High Court then some publicity might ensue with coverage in the mainstream media. In the meantime this small report will have to suffice.

Four photos of outside the Sheriff Court are attached.

Paul O'Hanlon
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Hide the following 6 comments


02.10.2009 11:16

We need to stamp it out. It is fast becoming respectable again in some middle class, politically correct lefty circles, the very people who are often so keen to spot racism in others.


Welcome protest

02.10.2009 16:25

Good luck with your court case.

Fascism and racism come in many guises and need to be tackled everywhere they are found - opposing the oppressive regime of the state of Israel is not anti-semitism.

The real racists here are those who abuse the term "anti-semitism" by labelling it on all who stand up for the basic human rights that the Israeli government is denying the Palestinians. Right wing politics should be resisted everywhere, even when it the politics of the government of Israel.

Dachau, etc were terrible crimes but they do not justify the genocide being slowly inflicted on Gaza.


Anti-zionism isn't anti-semitic

02.10.2009 16:32

There's a difference between disagreeing with zionism and being anti-semitic. There are groups of Jews who are against zionism.



02.10.2009 19:15

There are also anti-zionists who are anti-semitic.


Thanks Paul O'Hanlon

03.10.2009 15:36

I would just like to thank you for keeping us all updated on what is going on with regards to the case against the Scottish SPC Edinburgh 5.

There are so many people interested in this - your reports are very much appreciated by all.

I have posted a link to your report on the JustPeaceUK Yahoo messege group, here -

UK Indymedia - Edinburgh 5 accused of 'aggravated racism'

I know these blogs also follow this case with interest -

Tony Greenstein's Blog

jews sans frontiere

Lenin's Tomb

Socialist Unity

Keep up the good work Paul.
All the best.

joe kane
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Good luck

03.10.2009 19:08

Contrary to the idiots and trolls and those who think it's constructive to state the obvious, I'd like to wish you the best of luck. This case, in principle, is a huge test of the right of free speech and freedom to protest in Scotland.