“British Themis against WWII veteran
The London High Court ruled on Thursday that British WWII veteran Norman Scarth, sentenced to six months in prison for audio recording in court, will remain in custody.
The 86-year-old was put behind bars in the city of Leeds after he used a sound recording device during a court hearing, which is against the law in Britain. While admitting the breach of law, Scarth and his supporters also pointed to a disproportionately harsh verdict against the British veteran, who has already sent a plea for mercy to Queen Elizabeth.
A prominent human rights activist, Scarth was imprisoned on July 25, 2011 for making a recording of a Royal Court hearing in Bradford. Scarth, who has hearing problems, explained that he decided to use his dictation device after he discovered the absence of head-phones in the court. He was quickly sentenced to six months in a prison for serious offenders later that day. Since then, he has been denied all visitors and medical aid – something that infuriated his supporters who continue to demand his immediate release. More than 900 people have already signed a petition to this effect, which was posted on the Internet earlier this week.
The Scarth case and the petition were then submitted to an appeals court, which said its “No” to the veteran’s release on Thursday. Right now, Scarth’s supporters are calling for a public probe into the matter.
During the Second World War, Scarth was a crewmember of the Matchless destroyer, which took part in the so-called northern convoys, tasked with delivering military hardware and food to the Soviet ports of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. In this regard, Scarth certainly deserves to be pardoned, but meddling in Britain’s domestic affairs is not up our alley, of course, our political commentator says.
That the London court refused to release Scarth on bail really raises eyebrows, our commentator adds, pointing to the court’s soft sentences in relation to those taking part in recent riots in London and other British cities. Those public enemies were freed on bail in a move that our commentator says indicates Britain’s backsliding on democracy.
The past seven months have seen a whole array of human rights abuses in Britain, which notably still remains in the grip of the phone-hacking scandal related to the News of the World tabloid. Adding fuel to the public fire was the recently declassified information about tortures used by British special services against suspected terrorists. As for the Scarth case, it once again confirms the fact that something is wrong with British society, which Prime Minister David Cameron said should be “repaired” as soon as possible.”