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UK: Conservative Councillor Is Arrested For “Hate Crime” For Tweet Defending Free Speech

More chilling attacks on free speech in the UK.

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Anthony Stevens, a Conservative Councillor from Wellingborough, England, has reportedly been arrested and probed for a supposed hate crime over his engagement in the sharing of a video critical of a police confrontation with a Christian street preacher. The chilling event, highlighting the increasing state intervention on individuals’ freedom of expression, stirs growing concerns around the fast erosion of democratic values and liberties in Britain.

In one striking instance, back in May, Stevens shared a public tweet reflecting his concern over a controversial arrest. The video in question, still circulating on the internet, captures the intense moments when a London policeman confiscated the Bible from Christian preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi, levying against him ill-founded accusations of Islamophobia. Ilesanmi later received compensation totaling £2,500 ($3,147), acknowledging his wrongful arrest.

In the web of uncertainty that followed, officers advised Stevens that the video tweet he propagated originated from the feed of a Britain First member. Stevens maintained his innocence, denying awareness of Britain First’s existence and insisting the act of sharing the video was born purely out of his vexation towards what appeared to be “religious discrimination in law enforcement.”

According to The Telegraph, police confronted Stevens over his tweet expressing solidarity with fellow councilor King Lawal, who trod the path of social cancellation for articulating his Christian beliefs surrounding LGBT matters. Lawal, the sole black councilor in Northamptonshire, met disciplinary action from his Conservative comrades for publicly opposing LGBT pride parades.

Citing pride as harmful, Lawal invoked a cascade of backlash, sparking a move aimed at reinstating his party positions, which was propagated by Stevens. Emboldened by his unwavering commitment to free speech, Stevens passionately stood his ground, defending his support for Lawal and people’s rights to voice their convictions.

An additional scrutiny led the police to a tweet authored by Stevens, depicting a man incinerating a copy of the Koran. Stevens maintained that his controversial act was a demonstration of his steadfast commitment to defending the right to free speech in a free society.

Following this series of events, it came to light that a rival Labour Party member had reported Stevens to the police, resulting in his arrest under a public order offense under section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986.

The authorities, in this regard, suggested that Stevens sparked racial hatred by distributing provocative written materials.

Stevens is currently on bail, with the Christian Legal Centre supporting his cause. A formal complaint is underway to be filed with the Independent Office for Police Conduct, offering a glimmer of hope that his commitment to preserving free speech and stemming the tide of censorship will not be capriciously silenced.

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