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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Britain's "Heretical Two" held in UK Jail after Asylum refused in USA

Two British writers Simon Sheppard and Steve Whittle have been held in jail for over a year in the United States and now in the United Kingdom for items published on their US-based Internet website. There has been scant attention to this unusual case in the British and American media.

The two men were convicted at Leeds Crown Court, in England, of offences under the Public Order Act 1986 for material that appeared on a web site in Torrance, California. The case is ground-breaking because it involves the assertion by an English court of universal jurisdiction over Internet web sites wherever hosted, if they can be accessed in England. So far only Germany makes similar claims.

The US Department of Justice found that the writings of Sheppard and Whittle were constitutionally protected under the First Amendment but after they fled to the United States, an immigration judge refused them asylum. The Los Angeles Times published a very good feature article on their predicament.

The two men were deported back to England recently, and are now awaiting sentencing for writing on an American-based web site.

We invite readers to write to them at Her Majesty's Prison Leeds, 2 Gloucester Terrace, Stanningley Road, Leeds, LS12 2TJ, England.

Simon's prison number is A8042AA and Steve's number is A8041AA. They would appreciate letters and other means of support.



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