Sion Owens, a BNP candidate in Wales, has been arrested and charged under the Public Order Act and remains in custody. Another BNP candidate has been arrested but was bailed:
On Friday, police were given a video which appeared to show Mr Owens dousing a copy of the Koran with a highly flammable fluid, before setting it alight and watching it burn. Later that day he and another of the party’s candidates for the assembly election, Swansea East candidate Joanne Shannon, were arrested.
Mr Owens was charged on Saturday night. He is in custody in Swansea, and due to appear in court on Monday. Ms Shannon has been bailed pending further inquiries.
Sion Owens, who has links to alleged Nazis, was arrested after an Observer investigation tracked down the perpetrators of a Qur’an-burning video and handed the evidence to the police:
The footage of the burning in Britain clearly identifies Owens, who is wearing a “Whitelaw No Surrender” T-shirt. The film starts with the Qur’an lying in a Quality Street tin before Owens begins dousing the holy book in flammable liquid and then setting fire to it. The camera zooms in as the Qur’an burns.
It is clear that Sion Owens is a racist yob, who belongs to a party with links to terrorists such as the Klu Klux Klan. Book burning is also abhorrent, and this was clearly an attempt to provoke an extreme reaction. Yet it is worrying that book burning can get someone arrested. In some scenarios it is understandable; for instance, if Mr. Owens did it in a crowded mosque, as this could potentially provoke a riot or stampede (the old ‘don’t shout fire in a crowded building’). But this wasn’t the case. The fact that this could cause violent demonstrations once it was exposed doesn’t justify arresting someone, any more than burning a copy of My Side by David Beckham would if there was an outrage.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,The BNP