A 16 year old Asian youth has escaped being sent to prison for his part in the campaign to save Govanhill Pool in Glasgow. The trial of Qasim Khan in Glasgow Sheriff Court saw a succession of police officers testify over eight days.
Qasim strenuously denied all charges brought against him. Two of the charges were dropped, a third was not proven, and Qasim Khan was found guilty of five charges, including police assault. He was sentenced last week to 200 hours community service. Despite the conviction, campaigners rightly claim a victory in preventing a custodial sentence. At a press conference on the courthouse steps after Qasim was sentenced, defence lawyer Aamer Anwar, Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan and Alistair Hulett of Southside Against Closure all spoke of the courage and integrity of Qasim Khan.
For his part, Qasim told the press, 'I just wanted to save the pool. If a protest happened again, I would do what it takes to save a place that I love.' Further trials will begin soon.