Protest can sometimes or often be legitimate, even protest which causes disruption. Satpal Ram is entitled to protest his innocence however well justified his conviction, although if he truly believes he has been wrongly convicted then he does not belong in prison but in an institution for the criminally insane. His behaviour in prison has been the subject of much disinformation; he has certainly been disruptive, which is why to date he has been transferred over sixty times. His behaviour in the Sky Blue restaurant is a matter of public record. In court he has also been aggressive.
According to Mrs O’Neill, on his conviction he turned to Mr Justice Ognall and said: “Have you got the right man? Are you trying the right case?” Then he extended two fingers to the judge before being taken down.
On the dismissal of his 1995 appeal, he retorted “This is KKK justice”, and his guards had some difficulty removing him from the dock.
Mrs O’Neill attended the second appeal (but not the first) with her family, and as they left the Royal Courts of Justice they were badgered by Ram’s supporters. A white youth walked up to her and announced “We know who you are and where you live”. Sara Thornton took a photograph of her. Evelyn Schneider was also present. One local newspaper reported that police held back struggling demonstrators outside the court, * and a national daily reported arrests. **
The victim’s family has also been subjected to more direct intimidation, including at their home. The lies and smears that have been spread about them and especially about the victim are disgraceful beyond any meaning of the word, and with one or two honourable exceptions, the spinelessness of the media has been every bit as contemptible in the partisan and for the most part dishonest way they have reported on this ongoing so-called miscarriage of justice.
March 19, 2001
* Fury as man loses murder appeal No 2, published in the Weekend Evening Mail, (ie Birmingham) Saturday, November 25, 1995, page 14.
** Clash as appeal rejected, published in the Guardian, [CD-ROM version], November 25, 1995, page 10.
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