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British anti-immigrant party officials face retrial on race hatred charges

[JURIST] The retrial of two British National Party (BNP) [party website; BBC profile] officials on charges of inciting racial hatred began Wednesday in the UK, with hundreds of supporters protesting outside the Leeds Crown Court. BNP leader Nick Griffin [Wikipedia profile] and senior aide Mark Collett face two race hate charges based on speeches in West Yorkshire in 2004, taped by the BBC, that showed Griffin calling Islam a "wicked, vicious faith" and Collett referring to those seeking asylum as "a little bit like cockroaches." Griffin insists the speeches are legitimate political dialogue [BNP backgrounder, PDF; Griffin trial blog]. In February, the two men were cleared of similar charges of inciting racial hatred, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on all charges [BBC report], leading to a second trial.

The British National Party, formed in 1982, requires that all members must be of British or kindred European ethnic descent [BNP membership materials]. It has called for an immediate stop to all non-white immigration to the UK and for the voluntary resettlement of non-whites to the lands of their ethnic origin. The party has failed to garner widespread support, winning only thirty-three council seats [list, PDF] nationwide in May's local elections. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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