Flashback: British “Heretical Two” hire US asylum lawyer

Stephen Whittle and Simon Sheppard;
convicted of disseminating hate speech in Britain,
skipped bail and seek asylum in the U.S. where such laws are less stringent.
Instead, they have spent the last 10 months held in the Santa Ana city jail
after a federal immigration judge denied them asylum

The label “Heretical Two” was applied to Simon Sheppard, 51, and Stephen Whittle, 42, when they were undergoing criminal trials in Leeds Crown Court in Britain on several speech-related charges.Sheppard created and administered and Whittle wrote under a pseudonym for a website–hosted by a server in California–found at www.heretical.com.

Sheppard has described his website as a mixture of “blasphemies, heresies, and scientific and general interest material” established to promote his ideas on subjects such as politics, race and gender relations. The site was operating legally in the United States, a fact Sheppard says he relied on; he and Whittle were prosecuted based on the charge that their writings could be viewed by persons in England and Wales.

Sheppard holds an Honors bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics from the University of Sussex and published two medical scientific papers prior to becoming a publisher and web developer. Whittle is a First Class Honors B.A. graduate in languages and linguistic science from the University of York, and has written numerous books.

Sheppard and Whittle have already been held in a U.S. jail 80 days under questionable proceedings, according to Leichty. The two had apparently just been admitted to the United States under the U.S. “visa waiver” program at Los Angeles International Airport July 14 when they approached an officer at the airport to announce they wanted to seek political asylum. They were then taken into custody and have been confined in a contract detention facility of Department of Homeland Security ever since, and subjected to proceedings where their immigration judge says she has no power to release them from detention until after they have proved their case for asylum. Leichty said he is analyzing the case in order to determine how best to challenge the confinement and advance their asylum claims. Their next hearing is set for October 14 at the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

From the Legal Defense Fund for the Heretical Press and BBC (and here) coverage. The excellent high-brow blog The Hoover Hog covers the affair in detail.


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