Woman handed suspended sentence for Facebook posts saying Muslims should be “gassed”
Categories: Latest News
Thursday August 18 2016
The news website Belfast Live reports on the suspended sentence passed on a woman who posted material on Facebook calling for a Muslim community leader to be shot and Muslims to be “gassed.”
Belfast Magistrates’ court heard that Anne Bothwell, 53, posted comments on the Facebook page of Protestant Coalition.
The court heard Ms Bothwell faced charges on six counts of sending menacing messages in January of this year.
The court heard the victim of Ms Bothwell’s posts, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan found his picture and a comment allegedly suggesting he should be shot posted on Facebook following his attendance at a rally for refugees in Belfast. Dr Al-Wazzan told the court last month the posts placed him in fear of his life and fearful of the safety of his family.
Ms Bothwell was said to have posted messages accusing Dr Al-Wazzan, whom she referred to as “Wizzy-Wazzy”, of practising “witchcraft”. A further comment about Muslim women said they “are all over Belfast on their broomsticks and should be burnt at the stake.”
In response to a post asking what could be done about Dr Al-Wazzan, Ms Bothwell was said to have replied “Where are the guns, that would end the problem.”
Bothwell denied the messages were “harmful” saying they were posted in “humour”, were taken “out of context” and that her behaviour was prompted by upset caused by the case against Pastor James McConnell. McConnell was charged and cleared of a communications offence after a sermon in which he described Islam as “a doctrine spawned in hell” was streamed online.
Bothwell was convicted of six counts relating to a menacing message, while a further charge linked to a grossly offensive post was dismissed.
District Judge Ken Nixon imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after studying prepared reports.
Bothwell has indicated she will appeal against the conviction at Belfast County Court later this month.