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17 Jun 2009 by CST

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Convicted racists and far right activists Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle are due back in the UK today, after failing in their claim for political asylum in the United States.

The pair fled to Los Angeles after being convicted on several counts of publishing and distributing racially inflammatory material in July 2008. Sheppard was then convicted on a further five charges in January of this year. The case began when CST reported to the police that a copy of Tales of the Holohoax, traced to Sheppard’s Hull PO Box, had been sent to a synagogue in Blackpool. The police investigation then uncovered several more examples of racist and antisemitic material written, published and distributed by the pair.

Britain does not have a specific law to criminalise Holocaust Denial, but it can be prosecuted where it breaks more general laws against incitement to racial hatred. Most of the charges against Sheppard and Whittle came under the Public Order Act 1986, which rightly sets a fairly high bar for prosecutions that limit free speech. Tales of the Holohoax, written by the American far right author Michael A. Hoffman II, is a particularly nasty booklet and it is no surprise that the court found it passed the threshold for prosecution. You can see an example of its hatred for Jews here:

Another reason why this case is so important is that Sheppard’s Heretical Press website, which carried much of the offensive material, was hosted in America. Previously, far right and other extremists had considered this to be sufficient protection against prosecution. This case showed that British racists can be prosecuted for publishing this kind of material on the internet, irrespective of where their website is hosted.

Sheppard has a record of this kind of activity. He was convicted of Holocaust Denial in Holland in 1995 and convicted again in the UK in 1999 for distributing antisemitic leaflets in support of the BNP’s European Election campaign that year. According to Searchlight:

As well as running the Heretical Press site, which alongside the racist and nazi material contains sections devoted to sex and to cannibalism, Sheppard is infamous as the man who set up Redwatch for Kevin Watmough, a longstanding nazi activist. Redwatch is nothing less than an online “hit list” that publishes names and addresses of political opponents under the banner: “Remember places, traitors’ faces, they’ll all pay for their crimes”.


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