Prosecuted for having dissenting political opinions
MY seventh speech this week in Strasbourg came yesterday evening under the catch the Eye Procedure, during a debate, in the European Parliament, on human rights in the world in 2009.
This is what I had to say:
"When we heard the recording of Mr. Guillermo Fariñas* (right) from Cuba this morning, I was impressed that he identified himself and his colleagues as non-violent opposition to the Cuban regime.
It is particularly important to respect the rights of people who neither commit violence nor encourage violence in others.
However, before we become too pious, we must face up to the fact that in some EU countries people are prosecuted for having dissenting political opinions (such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands) or for expressing heretical opinions on academic subjects, without a hint of encouragement of violence.
Moreover, a political party without any violent connections has been banned in Belgium. An attempt to ban a party in Germany failed in the Constitutional Court, only because it was revealed that the evidence had been fabricated by state agents.
In the United Kingdom, a state body (the Commission for Equality and Human Rights) has been pursuing a civil action against our own party with the express purpose of closing us down."
* the person who was awarded the European Parliament Sakharov prize this very day.