Fringe far-right group Britain First's leaders jailed

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment 

Fringe far-right group Britain First's leaders jailed

World Bulletin / News Desk

The top leaders of a fringe British far-right group that found brief global fame late last year due to a re-tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump were found guilty Wednesday of religiously aggravated harassment by a U.K. court.

Paul Golding, the leader of extremist group Britain First, and its deputy leader Jayda Fransen were jailed for 18 weeks and 36 weeks respectively after a trial in the Folkstone Magistrates’ Court.

Golding was found guilty of one charge of religiously aggravated harassment and Fransen of three counts.

Both were arrested last year for distributing leaflets and posting online videos targeting Britain’s Muslim minority.

Judge Justin Barron told the court that the actions of Golding and Fransen "demonstrated hostility" towards Muslims and the Muslim faith.

Trump’s official Twitter account last November re-tweeted a series of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos.

The three clips were previously tweeted by Fransen, who was previously convicted in November 2016 of religiously aggravated harassment.

The videos were automatically tweeted and re-tweeted by at least three accounts associated with the group. The accounts have since been suspended by Twitter.

Shortly after Trump's re-tweets, Prime Minister Theresa May described the group as “a hateful organization."

After the re-tweets, Fransen appealed to Trump to intervene with the cases against the members of the group in the U.K.

However, Trump -- known for flirting with racist and extremist hate groups -- later told British channel ITV he was ready to apologize for the re-tweeting.

"If you are telling me they're horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize if you'd like me to do that," he said.

Britain First is well known in the U.K. for anti-Islam outbursts, anti-mosque protests, and street and online provocations. It was founded by former members of the British National Party in 2011.

Paul Golding, Britain First’s leader, and his deputy Fransen have been arrested numerous times and both have received convictions. They still face charges of using hate speech at a rally in Northern Ireland in August 2017.

Last Mod: 08 Mart 2018, 10:42
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