The three-year trial of two Palestinian activists in Scotland has ended in a convictions, after a protest against an Israeli cosmetics store in 2014.
Mick Napier and Jim Watson from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) were part of a demonstration at the Braehead shopping complex outside Glasgow in September 2014, just weeks after Israel’s military action in Gaza.
Napier was convicted of aggravated trespass and of failing to follow police orders to leave the Jericho Skin Care cosmetics store, while Watson was also convicted of failing to leave when directed.
A spokesman for Jewish Human Rights Watch, which supported the prosecution, said it “welcomed” the ruling, whilst Glasgow Friends of Israel chairman Sammy Stein said: “The conviction has opened a window onto the hateful and intimidatory tactics used routinely in Scotland by so-called pro-Palestinian campaigners”. He added: “The guilty verdict is also most welcome and sets an extremely helpful precedent for the police as they seek to protect people from intimidation.”
The verdict on Friday brought the three-year process to an end, concluding four days of witness testimony and cross-examination.
But, despite their convictions, which they will appeal, Napier heralded Friday’s ruling as a win, because an additional charge of ‘racial aggravation’ was dismissed by Sheriff Barry Divers.
Napier said that Israel supporters “were clearly very disappointed… They had hoped the intense lobbying of Scottish legal officials that had led to the absurd ‘racism’ charges being raised in the first place would lead to convictions that would deter others from supporting Palestinian rights”.
Following the trial, Napier tweeted a picture with pro-Palestine activists, accusing those who brought the case forward of trying to “criminalise criticism of Israeli apartheid and Israeli genocide”.
— Mick Napier (@micknapier) July 17, 2017