Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Report on the first asylum hearing for the "Heretical Two", Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle

Thanks to Thoughtcrime for the heads up:

Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle have finally gotten their first hearing on their application for political asylum in the United States, after eight months in prison. Most asylum seekers with black or brown skins are routinely given low bail, or simply released into the community, and given a perfunctory court date at which they are politely asked to show up, in the full knowledge that's probably the last that will be seen of them unless and until they commit another crime and are arrested later.

Sheppard and Whittle, however, are Caucasian and dangerous thought criminals to boot, so they have been imprisoned for eight months for the "crime" of asking America to fulfill its promise and let them be free.

From the Heretical Two's website:

The Report on the Hearing on March 12 follows:

To-day the Heretical Two’s asylum hearing proceeded before the U. S. Immigration Judge, Her Honour (I suspect that should be Honor!) Judge Rose Peters. Simon Sheppard and Steve Whittle (who were brought into court in handcuffs and leg irons, which, they confirmed, is standard procedure when asylum seekers are held in detention pending the hearing of their case, and not victimisation of themselves) presented their own cases, as their attorney, Bruce Leichty, had withdrawn from the case by leave of the Court, since he was not satisfied with the (substantial) retainer that he had received from friends of Simon and Steve. The U. S. government was represented by its attorney, Miss Myers.

The Court heard evidence from Simon and Steve about their experiences at the hands of the British police and Crown Prosecution Service, and also from their English counsel, Adrian Davies, who gave evidence about the relevant provisions of English law (the Public Order Act 1986, as amended) and the English Court’s assertion of jurisdiction over web pages hosted on a server located in Torrance, California.

The hearing was conducted in a very fair, courteous and thorough manner, though inevitably Simon and Steve were at some disadvantage, because they are not lawyers, and are moreover being held in prison, where they have had very limited facilities to prepare for the hearing. After a lengthy sitting, the Court adjourned to 1 p.m., West Coast time, on 24th March, when Simon and Steve will address the Court on their own behalf, and Miss Myers will make representations on behalf of the U. S. government.

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