The deputy head of the far-right group Britain First, Jayda Fransen, who was retweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump last year, was convicted with three counts of religiously aggravated harassment, Biritsh media reported Wednesday. Party leader Paul Golding was also found guilty of on one count of the charge.
Fransen and Golding were arrested in May last year as part of an investigation into distribution of leaflets and online videos during a trial of three Muslim men and a teenager convicted of rape. The judge ruled that their behavior "demonstrated hostility" toward Muslims and the Muslim faith.
Fransen was given a 36-week sentence, and Golding 18 weeks. Fransen has previously served jailtime for similar offenses, according to The Independent.
President Trump caused a media storm when he retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by the deputy head of the far-right group. Jayda Fransen, a former recruitment consultant with a conviction for religiously aggravated harassment behind her, is a high-profile member of the ultra-nationalist grouping that likes to warn of an imminent third world war with Islam.
Of the videos posted by Fransen that Trump retweeted, the first was a video titled "Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches," while the second was named "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" The third and most gruesome received the title "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!"
Fransen, who is from South London, was suspended from Twitter for "promoting violence,"The Independent reported. Previously, she had 54,300 followers on Twitter, where her profile read: "Faithful to God and Britannia. If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first John 15:18."
Reportedly a devout Roman Catholic, Fransen was filmed in January 2016 brandishing a white cross and shouting abuse at a Muslim woman and her four young children during a Britain First rally in Luton, a small town near London.
In response to Trumps tweet, she posted, using capital letters: "The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has retweeted three of deputy leader Jayda Fransens Twitter videos! Donald Trump himself has retweeted these videos and has around 44 million followers! God bless you Trump! God bless America!"
Britain First partly grew out of the remains of the British National Party, a far-right grouping that failed in its attempts to reach parliament over the last two decades.
Founded in 2011 by former BNP members including current leader Paul Golding, Britain First also exploited the fragmentation of the English Defence League, a rabble-rousing street-protest group formed in 2009.
According to the group Hope Not Hate, Britain First has a membership of around 1,000, although it has sometimes struggled to rally people to its street demonstrations. A Day of Action it held in the Midlands city of Wolverhampton in August attracted just 17 people.
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