Antisemitic blogger escapes prison term

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011
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A London blogger who wrote that Jews must be "attacked wherever you see them" on the Scotsman newspaper's website has escaped jail, after pleading guilty to posting the comments.

Mohammed Sandia from Wembley said Jews were a "genetically mutated inbred tribe. Jews are not fit to breathe our air and should be attacked wherever we see them. Throw rocks at their ugly, hooked-nosed women and mentally ill children, and light up the real ovens."

He changed his plea to guilty after initially denying the charges in November 2010. Sheriff Gordon Liddell expressed regret he could not impose a longer custodial sentence, suggesting a short sentence would "only have the effect of turning you, in your own eyes, and in the eyes of your supporters, into a martyr. I choose not to do that."

Sheriff Liddell opted to defer sentencing for 12 months. Last week, Sandia appeared again in court, and was admonished - leaving him with a criminal record but no substantive penalty.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities director Ephraim Borowski welcomed the sentence as an "outspoken condemnation of Sandia's outrageous and abhorrent postings on the Scotsman website, and a clear signal that the law will not tolerate the abuse of freedom of speech to spread hatred."

Mr Borowski's deputy director, Leah Granat, said: "The police and prosecutors have been fantastic - this case breaks new ground in establishing that the distributed nature of the internet does not offer protection from prosecution. The Scotsman is in Edinburgh, complaints were made in Glasgow, and Sandia was posting in London.

"This required cross-border co-operation to track down the computer [of the poster] and who it was used by. "

The Scotsman's digital editor, Stephen Emerson, said that Sandia's posts had been removed "five minutes after being posted.

"We make every effort to ensure offensive comments are removed promptly from the site, and co-operated fully with police throughout this investigation."

    Last updated: 12:46pm, December 22 2011