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28 Aug, 2011 05:30

British WWII veteran jailed for recording court hearing

British prisons are full to bursting. Courts are working overtime sending young people to jail for their role in the recent riots in England. If they are sent to Leeds prison, they will be languishing alongside 85-year-old Norman Scarth.

The senior citizen plied the Arctic Sea during the Second World War, risking his life taking essential supplies to the Soviet Union on the most dangerous journey in the world. Now, he is serving six months in prison on the whim of a British judge. His crime is recording a court hearing. He said he did it because he has hard of hearing, but the judge did not accept it.“It was a very harsh sentence, and I believe it was because he’s uncovering corruption, and the judiciary see that and frown upon it,” says Chris Jarvis, a legal expert.Scarth is no stranger to the legal system. He won a case in the European Court of Human Rights banning secret hearings. Yet some cases in England are still heard behind closed doors, and unlike in other EU countries, recording and taking photographs is forbidden.Scarth attends demonstrations where he shouts about corruption in the police and judiciary, saying lawyers, police and the courts are in cahoots, and regularly persecute and gag those who disagree with them. That is why MP John Hemming suspects the judge was trying to silence him.“We have in theory in this country freedom of expression, that is, people’s right to speak about what they see is wrong, as long as they are telling the truth,” he told RT. “And I’m very worried that this is an attempt to gag an elderly gentleman, who may or may not always be right, but he has a right to speak out.”Luckily for Scarth, he has friends with knowledge of the law, and they are acting for him.Norman Scarth’s supporters have brought his case to the Royal Courts of Justice. However, they do not feel justice is being served to him. Meanwhile, Scarth claims he is being denied essential medication in prison. His case was adjourned for another week, and for an 85-year-old war veteran, every week is precious.