Luton army parade protesters lose High Court appeal

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Police with protesters in Luton, March 2009
Image caption,
Luton has become a focus of protest for radical Muslim groups and the English Defence League

Five Muslim men who disrupted a march by soldiers who had just returned from Afghanistan have lost an appeal against convictions for public order offences.

The men were convicted of using threatening and abusive words during the protest in Luton in 2009.

The five argued they had a right to freedom of expression but their appeals were rejected by the High Court.

Judges said their actions went beyond legitimate protest and were personally abusive to the troops.


Jalal Ahmed, 22, Munim Abdul, 29, Yousaf Bashir, 30, Shajjadar Choudhury, 32, and Ziaur Rahman, 33, all from Luton, were found guilty of using words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

They staged a demonstration in March 2009 during a homecoming parade by the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian regiment.

The men called the soldiers "murderers and baby killers".

Lord Justice Gross said the right to freedom of expression was important but that "the focus on minority rights should not result in overlooking the rights of the majority".