AUT calls for far-right Redwatch website to be prosecuted for threatening academics

March 26, 2004

Academics are being named on a far-right website that encourages attacks on trade unionists and anti-racism campaigners, the Association of University Teachers said this week, writes Phil Baty.

A motion at this week's AUT annual conference in Scarborough calls on the government to ban the Redwatch website, which is understood to be run by extremist neo-Nazi groups.

The site lists the names and addresses, and sometimes photographs, of people it describes as Marxists and communists, alongside the slogan:

"Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes."

The motion, by AUT branches at Newcastle and Leeds universities, says: "AUT representatives are named on the Redwatch site explicitly as activists in the AUT. This information has been used to physically attack and threaten some of those named."

The motion says that the organisers of the website should be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred and for inciting violence against individuals.

An academic who has been named on the site but asked not to be named in The Times Higher , said: "I'm named - presumably because I proposed a motion to ally the AUT branch with the Anti-Nazi League. A teacher in Leeds named on the site recently had their car fire-bombed, so it is very uncomfortable."

The academic said that his university - a northern redbrick - had stepped up security.

Another academic, who also declined to be named, is pictured on the website after attending an anti-British National Party demonstration. "It is very intimidating," he said.

Attacks on a number of student activists have also been reported in Preston and Leeds.

A spokesman for the Home Office said it was in discussion with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

But he added that action was difficult. "In many cases, the material may have come from the UK and may concern UK citizens, but the website is hosted from other countries, such as the US where there are first-amendment issues of free speech."

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