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Frazer arrives at court dressed as Muslim cleric

Published 28/09/2013




LOYALIST Willie Frazer turned up at a Belfast court yesterday dressed as radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza in a protest at charges he faces.

He arrived at the Laganside complex wearing a flowing black robe, skullcap and fake beard.

An eye-patch and hooked hand completed his efforts to resemble the fiery Hamza, distinctive by his missing eye and prosthetic limb.

Mr Frazer donned the costume to hit out at being charged under legislation he says was brought in to deal with Islamic hate preachers.

He removed the outfit before appearing before the judge at Belfast Magistrates Court for an update on his case.

The 53-year-old, from Markethill, Co Armagh, is charged with encouraging offences by an address to Union flag demonstrators in January.

He is also accused of three counts of taking part in an un-notified public procession, obstructing traffic in a public place, and possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a Taser stun-gun.

Prosecutors confirmed that the case against him is to proceed summarily, rather than by indictment to the Crown Court.

Mr Frazer's lawyers were given one week to state whether he will contest the charges.

Mr Frazer was released on continuing bail. It was also confirmed that hs bail conditions are to be varied to enable him to attend a parade in Belfast this weekend.

Flanked by supporters outside the court, he explained his reasons for dressing as Hamza, the radical one-handed cleric deported from Britain to face terrorist-related charges in the US.

Mr Frazer hit out at being charged under the Serious Crime Act 2007.

"This law was brought in to deal with extreme creatures of hate, Muslim creatures who look to behead British soldiers and I get charged with it."

Accusing the police of being "politically controlled" by Sinn Fein, he claimed: "This is the start of a campaign to try and pull the Protestant people down.

"But the IRA couldn't do it and Matt Baggott won't do it. If I have to go to jail I will go to jail."

RADICAL: Abu Hamza