Late last year, a Scottish court quietly refused what seemed like a routine extradition. It wasn’t that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose drawn-out efforts to avoid the American prison system have grabbed international headlines for years. Instead, it was that of a relatively unknown Scottish man, Daniel Magee, who’d allegedly shot a security guard in Austin, Texas, in 2016 before fleeing to his native country. The refusal to send a prisoner back is not unprecedented — but what has raised eyebrows in the legal community is the reason: An Edinburgh judge decided that poor conditions in Texas prisons might constitute an international human rights violation. “This is the first case I know of where this specific argument about prison conditions has succeeded — normally, the courts are very sympathetic to deporting people,” said University of Nottingham criminologist Dirk van Zyl Smit.
Craig Murray was released from Saughton Prison on Tuesday. This is what he was imprisoned for: Craig Murray, an ex-British ambassador and blogger, has been sentenced to eight months in prison after being found guilty in March of contempt of court during the 2020 trial of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. He was given three weeks to turn himself into police, pending his appeal. Judge Lady Dorrian issued the sentence, she said, despite Murray’s health issues. Murray faced up to two years in prison and unlimited fines. Murray must surrender his passport making it impossible to travel to Spain on May 20 to testify in the case of UC Global spying on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London.
The Ontario-based Aamjiwnaang nation is surrounded on all sides by petrochemical facilities, and members had long suspected that the facilities in “Chemical Valley” had exposed them to potentially dangerous chemicals. The data, which had been held secret for many years, was disclosed by the environment ministry following questions from Global News. The Aamjiwnaang people, situated along the Michigan border, think that the government of Ontario has been disrespectful by withholding the data from them. “This is just the continuation of the Canadian legacy of putting Indigenous people, people of color, at a lower place,” Janelle Nahmabin, also known as Red Cloud Woman and chair of Aamjiwnaang’s environment committee, told Global News.
Glasgow, Scotland - Hundreds of international scholars have begun a fightback against pro-Israel lobbyists who have been scoring increasingly high-profile victories on UK campuses as they seek to curb academic freedoms under the guise of stamping out antisemitism. Glasgow university officials have found themselves in the eye of a storm this week, accused of “capitulating” in two separate cases that have undermined academic research into the activities of Israel and its supporters. More than 500 scholars from around the world, including a Nobel prize winner, Royal Society fellows, and former and current presidents of major academic bodies, signed a petition delivered to the university this week in protest.
We had a phone call this morning from HMP Edinburgh, asking us to briefly relapse our retirement again to put out a request on behalf of Prisoner 157095 – better known to you and us as our friend Craig Murray, the only person on the planet to now or ever have been imprisoned for the undefined and extremely selectively prosecuted pseudo-crime of “jigsaw identification”. Craig is doing okay a week and a half into his eight-month sentence in Saughton and is being treated well by both staff and inmates, but was recently informed that he is not eligible for early release on an electronic tag (which might have seen him out by the end of next month) because he’s a civil prisoner rather than a criminal one.
I want to make one or two points for you to ponder while I am in jail. This is the last post until about Christmas; we are not legally able to post anything while I am imprisoned. But the Justice for Craig Murray Campaign website is now up and running and will start to have more content shortly. Fora and comments here are planned to stay open. I hope that one possible good effect of my imprisonment might be to coalesce opposition to the imminent abolition of jury trials in sexual assault cases by the Scottish Government, a plan for which Lady Dorrian – who wears far too many hats in all this – is front and centre. We will then have a situation where, as established by my imprisonment, no information at all on the defence case may be published in case it contributes to “jigsaw identification”, and where conviction will rest purely on the view of the judge.
Murray’s imprisonment for eight months by Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, is of course based entirely on a keen reading of Scottish law rather than evidence of the Scottish and London political establishments seeking revenge on the former diplomat. And the UK supreme court’s refusal on Thursday to hear Murray’s appeal despite many glaring legal anomalies in the case, thereby paving his path to jail, is equally rooted in a strict application of the law, and not influenced in any way by political considerations.
On Monday morning, Lady Dorrian and two supporting judges will hear the application from Roddy Dunlop QC for Craig Murray to be allowed to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against both their verdict of contempt of court for jigsaw identification, and against the disproportionate sentence. It is widely expected, given the obvious animus against Murray she has shown throughout the proceedings, that leave to appeal will be refused and Lady Dorrian will commit Craig Murray to jail, probably from Wednesday 9 June. At that stage, Murray’s legal team will have to apply direct to the UK Supreme Court to grant him an appeal, but his eight month sentence will likely be served before the Supreme Court even looks at whether to consider it.
Glasgow, Scotland - One of two men detained by immigration officers in Scotland and subsequently released after protesters blocked them from leaving has said he's grateful "fate" bought him to live among the demonstrators in Glasgow. On Monday evening, protesters sat on the road in front of the Home Office van parked on Kenmure Street in Glasgow. Police officers surrounded the vehicle. Hundreds of protesters were at the scene, chanting refrains like "Leave our neighbours, let them go" and "Cops go home". "I'm so happy that my fate brought me to live here in Glasgow, where the people are so connected that they'll come out onto the streets to help one of their own," Lakhvir Singh exclusively told ITV News.
As a community of scientists working across many different disciplines, we are passionate about passing on the wonders of science to future generations. Many of us were inspired as children by eye-opening experiences at the Science Museum. We truly believe it is world-class. One of the most significant and inclusive aspects is that free entry allows access to anyone. In short, we love the Science Museum. After a year of a pandemic and with two major COP summits on the horizon, we are excited to see the museum reopen with a landmark exhibition on the climate emergency and what to do about it. But it is with great disappointment that we see the museum would allow its reputation to be tarnished by allowing this exhibit to be sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell.
Scotland - Climate activists have blocked the gates of the Ineos refinery at Grangemouth with boats in a protest against pollution. Extinction Rebellion Scotland claims Ineos is Scotland’s biggest climate polluter and is staging the blockade as part of a programme of action. Small groups of no more than six people have locked themselves together at the gates and aim to remain there all day. Two boats are being used to block the entrances to the refinery and the headquarters.
Many of those who organised around the exemplary “no evictions” campaign over the last couple of years gathered to show solidarity and support for people with no vote, no opportunity to work, no money, and living in a new country having fled conditions which were often the stuff of nightmares. Sadly, this was met with a “counter-protest.” Quite how anyone could protest against people being given decent food to eat should be beyond comprehension – but for the far-right, this seemed too much like treating people from other places and races with dignity. Two sets of people faced-off. One set of working-class people who defended those who had nothing, who stood by the oppressed in the best traditions of the city – and another set defending the establishment, its grubby treatment of the most marginalised and its statues, including many of those in that square who would never have lifted a finger for the working-class in their lives.
The Scottish Parliament has called for the immediate suspension of exports of riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets to the United States, in light of the police response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. A successful motion, which was backed by 52 votes to 0 with 11 abstentions, says the parliament "stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and considers that the UK government must immediately suspend all export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear to the US". Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP who proposed the successful amendment, said the "weapons of oppression", which the UK government has granted active export licences for, were being used by a "racist state" to "brutalise marginalise communities". The same motion also called for the establishment of a slavery museum in Scotland "to address our historic links with the slave trade".
… I know of four pro-[Scottish] Independence folk who were last week phoned or visited by Police Scotland and threatened with contempt of court proceedings over social media postings they had made weeks back on the Alex Salmond case. "Then on Monday, a Scottish journalist I know had his home raided by five policemen, who confiscated (and still have) all his computers and phones. They said they were from the “Alex Salmond team” and investigating his postings on the Alex Salmond case. He has not to date been charged, and his lawyer is advising him at present to say nothing, so I am not revealing his name. “Then on Tuesday morning, a large Police van full of police pulled up onto the pavement right outside my front gate, actually while I was talking on the phone to a senior political figure about the raid on my friend.