00:22 GMT07 June 2020
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    Most European states have legislation in place to deter the promotion of Nazi material, or the mocking of the Holocaust, with perparators facing steep fines even if their actions aren’t particularly malicious.

    A man who filmed his partner’s pet dog giving Nazi salutes while he said “sieg heil” and “gas the Jews” has been fined £800 (around US$1,120 at the current GBP/USD exchange rate) by the Airdrie sheriff court on Monday, the Independent reported.

    The defendant, Mark Meechan, posted the footage on YouTube around two years ago, and was found to be in breach of the Communications Act on April 23 for sharing the “grossly offensive, anti-Semitic and racist” material online.

    Mr. Meechan claims he made the video to raise awareness about free speech and to annoy his partner. He told reporters outside the court today that the decision sets a “dangerous precedent.”

    The sheriff who heard the case said that although freedom of speech is important, the law “necessarily” has to limit it to some extent.

    READ MORE: The Slow Death of Free Speech in the UK

    Sentencing Mr. Meechan, Sheriff Derek O’Carroll said “The centerpiece of your video consists of you repeating the phrase ‘gas the Jews’ over and over again as a command to a dog, which then reacts. You use the command ‘sieg heil’, having trained the dog to raise its paw in response and the video shows a clip of a Nuremberg rally and a flashing image of Hitler with strident music.”

    “On the whole evidence, including your own, applying the law as made by parliament and interpreted by the most senior courts in this land, I found it proved that the video you posted, using a public communications network, was grossly offensive and contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material.”

    A number of campaigners and supporters of the defendant, including former leader of the English Defense League (EDL) Tommy Robinson, were present at the court today.

    His exit from the building was met with applause and cheers from dozens of supporters.



    Many took to Twitter to share their thoughts on his sentencing and the wider issue of the limitations of free speech.



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    activism, prank, Neo-nazis, sentence, freedom of speech, court, Airdrie sheriff court, YouTube, Mark Meechan, Tommy Robinson, United Kingdom
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