Posted on August 10, 2005

Newspaper Editor Charged Under Anti-Racism Laws Following Article

Frank Urquhart, Scotsman (Edinburgh), Aug. 10

The editor of a Scottish weekly newspaper is facing possible prosecution under Britain’s anti-racism laws, following the publication of an article claiming that a massive refugee camp could be built in Scotland.

Alan Buchan, the publisher and editor of the North East Weekly, a free sheet based in Peterhead, was arrested by officers from Grampian Police in connection with the publication of an editorial in the latest issue of the newspaper, headlined “Perverts and Refugees”.

Mr Buchan was charged under a section of the Public Order Act which gives the police powers to arrest any person whom they suspect of publishing or distributing written material that is threatening, abusive, or insulting and intended to stir up racial hatred.

His newspaper had previously claimed that the redundant military base at RAF Buchan, near the village of Boddam, could become the site of Scotland’s first refugee camp.

The article in the latest edition states: “Three months ago Buchan’s only locally owned newspaper exclusively broke the story that the Scottish Prison Service intended to close Craiginches in Aberdeen, sell the land for housing and turn Boddam and Peterhead into a huge prison and immigrant centre.

“The people of rural England have been in massive rebelling [sic] over the establishment of refugee centres holding upwards of 5,000 immigrants because they were fully aware that their communities would be swamped and turned into cesspools.

“The reason that the people of rural England have rejected this is that they know their communities would be turned into ghettos where murder, rape, robbery, assault, break-ins and numerous other crimes become prevalent.”

Mr Buchan, a former fisherman who stood for the Scottish People’s Alliance in the last general election, has now been arrested and charged in connection with the allegedly inflammatory content of the article. He told The Scotsman yesterday: “What precisely I am charged with I don’t know, but they were questioning me about the article in the paper. The police phoned me up on Saturday and asked me to come to the police station for a chat and that is when they arrested me. I was questioned for about two hours.”

Mr Buchan claimed: “In my opinion, what they were trying to do was make me say something racist to get a lot more against me. But if you read the article, there is absolutely nothing there that says black refugees or Asian refugees. This is just a whole problem that affects the whole world, not just here.

“At the moment we have got no way of discriminating what type of refugees are allowed into the country.”

Mr Buchan declared: “The North East Weekly see the police action as a move against press freedom and free speech. We intend to mount a stout defence of the freedom of speech, as this is the only way to defeat the extremists who are bringing blood and carnage to the streets of our towns and cities.”

A spokesman for Grampian Police said: “Grampian Police can confirm that, following a complaint, they are making inquiries regarding the content of an article published and distributed recently in the North East Weekly publication.

“A male has been charged in connection with the inquiry and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

Mr Buchan, 46, has been cited to appear at Peterhead Sheriff Court on 1 September.