AMJID RASHID, aged 22, has received an outrageously long sentence of eight and a half years after pleading not guilty to taking part in last year's confrontations with the police in Bradford. It is the longest sentence yet handed out by Bradford Crown Court to young Asian men who protected themselves from a threatened march by the National Front, and from the police.
Amjid is the first of about 100 men to plead not guilty. His sentence, for riot, is higher even than those handed out in Northern Ireland for similar offences. Judge Stephen Gullick has handed out most of the sentences in Bradford, and promised last year to give especially long sentences to those who dared to plead not guilty.
The court has been handing out sentences of four to six years in jail to Asian youths who threw stones. Compare these to the sentences given to BNP Nazis.
Tony Lecomber, the BNP's deputy leader, was given a three-year sentence in 1985 for five offences under the Explosives Act including possession of home-made hand grenades and electronic timing devices.
Herman Ouseley, who published a report into the events in Bradford, said last week, 'In comparison with how people have been treated in similar or worse cases the severe sentences handed out to the young people in Bradford are undeniably unfair and possibly racist.'
The trials in Burnley of two dozen Asian men started on Monday of this week. They are pleading not guilty to charges of violent disorder following attempts by white racists to break into the main Asian area of the town last year.
Phone the Burnley campaign on 07930 869 895 and the Bradford campaign on 07966 215 696.