A Neo-Nazi prisoner jailed for encouraging people to ”destroy all Jews” claims he is the victim of religious discrimination – after being banned from wearing a ‘fascist’ necklace.
Michael Heaton, 43, who is a former leader of the British Freedom Fighters, was jailed last year for posting more than 3,000 hate-filled comments on far-right websites. But the Aryan Strike Force member has complained to prison chiefs at HMP Wymott, Lancs., after he was banned from wearing a Thor’s Hammer pendant.
He claims his rights are being infringed but prison bosses have ruled that the necklace has a ”fascist meaning” and ”Neo-Nazi overtones”.
In a letter sent to inmates’ magazine Inside Time, the ex-English Defence League activist complained he was being singled out for religious discrimination. He said: ”Moslems (sic) can wear hats in prison when nobody else can, Christians are allowed their crosses, so imagine my shock when I enquired about wearing my religious pendant and was refused. I am what is called an Odinist. So that I can feel nearer my god I requested to be allowed to wear my pendant.
”The reply I got was that my application had been refused on the grounds that the pendant ‘looks a little like a Maltese cross, which has a fascist meaning and neo-Nazi overtones’. To say I was shocked at this would be an understatement! Other religious groups are afforded the respect for their religious symbols in prison, so why not me? His (the governor) response was that Thor’s hammer is on the prison ‘banned list’. Surely this cannot be right? Is there anything I can do about it?”
Heaton, serving 30 months in jail for using threatening and abusive language likely to stir up racial hatred, claims that his pendant is an Odinist rather than a Nazi symbol. However, prison staff refused his request to wear it after learning that far-right groups have adopted the symbol as a depiction of aryan supremacy.
A trial at Liverpool Crown Court in June last year heard food packer Heaton, who has a scorpion tattoo on his neck, wanted to ”clear the country of all ethnic minorities”. He posted a series of racist comments on the Aryan Strike Force website including: ”Jews will always be scum and must be destroyed.”
He added: ”I would encourage any religion or race which wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion.”
Judge Stephen Irwin said: ”You wanted to start a race war. You were clearly filled with racial hatred.”
A Prison Service spokesperson said it would not discuss complaints made by individual inmates. He said: ”The provision of religious artefacts in prison is at the discretion of the governor following a thorough risk assessment.”
Norse gods Thor and Odin are worshipped by Odinists and Pagans but their symbols have been hijacked by many white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups.
Heaton’s co-defendant Trevor Hannington, 58, of Cardiff, was sentenced to two years for six offences.
Small World News Service