Edinburgh-based law graduate Sophie Stephenson will not face criminal charges over her support for proscribed terrorist organisation Hizballah, which seeks the annihilation of Jews worldwide.
On 1st July 2017, Ms Stephenson tweeted a photograph of herself wearing a Hizballah t-shirt, explaining: “Went out to dinner with my family tonight wearing a Hizballah t-shirt.” As her tweet began to go viral, a proud Ms Stephenson also added that when her sister had asked what the Hizballah emblem was, Ms Stephenson replied: “A terrorist group”.
Ms Stephenson has previously claimed that “Hamas are more the victims of an extremely well-funded propaganda campaign rather than terrorists”, and reportedly tweeted that “Everyone in Ukraine is either a Moscow agent, a homosexual, or a Jew.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism reported Ms Stephenson to the police, alleging that she had committed an offence under section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which applies in Scotland and states that: “A person in a public place commits an offence if he wears an item of clothing, or wears, carries or displays an article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation. A constable in Scotland may arrest a person without a warrant if he has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is guilty of an offence under this section. A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.”
After Police Scotland declined to act, Campaign Against Antisemitism considered undertaking a private prosecution, however we were unable to secure enough funding to do so. Campaign Against Antisemitism currently does not receive any annual grants and is dependent upon the generosity of the public.
Ms Stephenson will now escape justice as the deadline for bringing a prosecution has expired.
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