London NoBorders condemns suppression of free speech by Metropolitan Police
The website fitwatch.org.uk, the website of civil rights initiative
"Fitwatch", has been shut down on behalf of the London Metropolitan
Police. "Fitwatch" aims to report police surveillance of public protest,
especially as done by the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT).
In a request send to JustHost.com, the US-based provider of the
website,the police stated that the website is "committing offences of
attempting to pervert the Course of Justice under Common Law." However,
without exactly specifying what part of material on the website the
Metropolitan Police has a problem with, the police requested the provider
"to de-host this website for a minimum period of 12 months." It appears
that JustHost.com has followed up on this request, although it remains
unclear in how far any common UK law can be "perverted" in the US. Such an
extensive request, to shut down a whole website for at least a year
without a court decision, seems unprecedented.
London NoBorders is under the impression that the request is rather
serving the aim to silence one of the best known police-critical websites.
The fact that especially this police force, well known for the
surveillance and collection of photos and videos of political activists,
does not like to
be watched itself only reveals what their work is really about. In a
statement, Rosie Young of London NoBorders said: "This is just another
attempt to intimidate and criminalize political activities. If they get
away with this, the future of freedom of speech in the UK looks bitter."
London NoBorders, who has been a target of intimidation by the FIT itself,
protest heavily against this attack on freedom of speech. Only a few
months ago, the Inner London Crown Court ruled that the police
surveillance of a public meeting organised by London NoBorders had not
been proved to be lawful and that the police had failed to provide any
evidence that they were pursuing a "legitimate aim".
We stand in full solidarity with the activists of "Fitwatch" and will
support any such initiative wherever we can. Shutting down a website will
not silence the criticism of police intimidation, it will make it only
About London NoBorders: London NoBorders is a campaign group for freedom of
movement. We are active in London for over 6 years and part of a
transnational European wide network.