UK news

Gaza protesters' sentences cut

By Simon Rocker, July 13, 2010

The Court of Appeal has reduced the prison sentences of a number of people who pleaded guilty to violent disorder in protests against Israel’s incursion into Gaza outside the Israeli embassy in London.

The judges cut the prison terms in some instances from two years to 18 months, and from 18 months to 10 in others: in one instance, they quashed a 12-month jail sentence and replaced it with a community order, citing an “inexcusable” delay in bringing the man to court.

Eight appeals for reduced sentences were accepted, two were dismissed.

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Nazi jibe presenter Jon Gaunt loses court case

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

The former TalkSport presenter, Jon Gaunt, has lost his legal battle with Ofcom over calling a councillor a Nazi on air.

The High Court found that the watchdog was justified in upholding complaints against the radio show host and that this "did not constitute a material interference to his freedom of expression".

Mr Gaunt was fired from TalkSport in 2008 after the media regulator found that he had breached the Ofcom code for addressing Michael Stark, a Redbridge councillor, as a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".

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Gaza protesters appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who attacked a coffee shop outside the Israeli embassy are appealing against their sentences.

The ten protesters were among more than 78 people charged following a demonstration against Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Their lawyers are expected to argue that the “deterrent” sentences, some of up to two and a half years and most for violent disorder, were inappropriate.

Police intervened and arrested more than 100 people after the crowd threw stones and bottles.

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Anti-Israel protesters win payout

By Robyn Rosen, July 12, 2010

Two protesters clubbed by police officers during a Gaza demonstration outside the Israeli embassy have received £25,000 in compensation from the Metropolitan Police.

The men, twin brothers Ashley and Russell Inglis, had been part of the protests against Operation Cast Lead last January when 119 people were arrested and 55 police officers were injured.

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Inquest into alleged Egyptian Mossad man's death

By Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010

An inquest into the death of a suspected Egyptian Mossad spy has opened at City of Westminster Coroners ' Court.

Dr Ashraf Marwan, a close aide of Anwar Sadat before the then Egyptian President was assassinated, was found to have fallen from the balcony of his London home in 2007. He was 62.

Before his death he had been named by several sources both as a Mossad spy and as a double agent for Egypt.

An Israeli historian alleged in 2002 that Dr Marwan had alerted Israel of Egypt and Syria’s plans to attack on Yom Kippur of 1973.

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Ed Miliband keeps controversial anti-Israel campaign worker

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010

Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband has been criticised for hiring an anti-Israel researcher to work on his campaign, despite the volunteer having previously been sacked by another MP.

Joseph Brown, a former anti-racism officer at London School of Economics’ student union, is working on Mr Miliband’s website during the leadership contest.

While at LSE, Mr Brown allegedly made comments about having “shot down a Zionist” during an anti-Israel lecture theatre occupation in the wake of Operation Cast Lead.

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Jewish leaders condemn Iran stoning sentence

By Jessica Elgot, July 9, 2010

Leading figures from the Jewish community have supported the campaign to stop the stoning to death of a mother in Iran.

Politicians, rabbis and businessmen put their names to a letter to the Iranian government to stop the action against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.

The Iranian authorities have now confirmed that the widowed mother-of-two will not be stoned to death, but did not say whether her death sentence had been lifted.

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Children's group boycotts Israel

By Jessica Elgot, July 9, 2010

A children’s educational movement has voted to boycott Israel at their annual gathering in Sussex.

The Morning Star reported that the Woodcraft Folk, which runs weekly sessions for children including singing, dancing, craft and eco-projects, voted for the boycott at their conference in Ashdown Forest, west Sussex.

The emergency motion was proposed by international secretary Paul Bemrose, who said it had been prompted by the deaths of nine Turkish activists on the Gaza flotilla.

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Judge slams father who abducted child

July 8, 2010

A senior judge has imposed swingeing restrictions on a "selfish" Jewish father who abducted his daughter and fled to Israel in the midst of a bitter residency row.

The father and mother divorced in the mid-1990s following 13 years of marriage and a prolonged battle for custody of their disabled daughter.

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Sex abuse complaint rejected

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The Charity Commission has rejected a complaint against Christian Aid for publishing claims that Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

Christian Aid apologised "unreservedly" after sending out a press release which mistakenly made the false claim and said it should have described the alleged incidents as having involved "verbal sexual abuse".

The episode came after social worker Miranda Pinch travelled to the West Bank town to "monitor human rights abuses" as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the
charity.

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