June 27, 2009
"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
The two men were deported back to England
recently, and are now awaiting sentencing for
writing on an American-based web site.
invite readers to write to them at Her
Majesty's Prison Leeds, 2 Gloucester
Terrace, Stanningley Road, Leeds, LS12 2TJ,
Simon's prison number is A8042AA and Steve's
number is A8041AA. They would appreciate letters
and other means of support.