Pictured: Willie Frazer wears Abu Hamza outfit for Union Flag protest court case
Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has appeared at court in Belfast dressed up as radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza in a protest at charges he faces.
Published 27/09/2013 | 11:54
Mr Frazer, who revealed to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month that he would dress as the radical Muslim cleric, appeared at Belfast Laganside Courts wearing wearing a flowing black robe, skullcap and fake beard and had attached a clothes-hanger hook to one of his hands.
He was asked to remove the hook prior to entering the building and later removed the Hamza costume before entering the courtroom for an update on his case.
An eye-patch completed his efforts to resemble the fiery Hamza, distinctive by his missing eye and prosthetic limb.
Frazer donned the costume to hit out at being charged under legislation he says was brought in to deal with Islamic hate preachers.
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 today confirmed that the case against him is to proceed summarily, rather than by indictment to the Crown Court.
Frazer's lawyers were given one week to state whether he will contest the charges.
Union flag protest leader Jamie Bryson supported Mr Frazer in his protest by appearing outside court wearing a wig and tape over his mouth. Mr Bryson's costume is believed to be an attempt to mimic rock singer Jon Bon Jovi.
Releasing Mr Frazer on continuing bail, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said she wanted to be told how long the case will take if not guilty pleas are entered.
It was also confirmed his 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.
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 (Chief Constable) Matt Baggott won't do it.
"If I have to go to jail I will go to jail." ends
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last week, Frazer said the court proceedings were "a farce", and claimed he was considering turning up to court next week dressed in Muslim regalia.
"It's so ridiculous that I might as well go as a Muslim," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"That law was brought in to deal with Muslim extremists in the UK, and the first person to be charged with it is myself – a man who has never had a parking ticket in his life.
"The whole thing is a mockery so I may as well go along with it. I am seriously considering it.
"The only way to get through to these people is to send a message that we're not going to sit back and take it from them."