T Nation

Good Investigation, or Thought Crime?

Just found this headline:

Teenager, students jailed for having extremist material

It’s not relevant to the story, but I thought it was telling that I immediately thought that this happened in the U.S. rather than the UK. Regardless, I’m wondering if the charges are legit, and enough to warrant jail time. Opening line sez:

[quote]
A teenager and four university students were sentenced to between two years and three years in custody in Britain Thursday after Islamist extremist material was found on their computers. [/quote]

What do you guys think? These types might be dangerous at some point in the future, but is it legally justifiable to jail them just for possessing “extremist material”?

Source:

Sounds a bit extreme.

We don’t have all the facts, but if you can’t investigate the material, it’s going to be hard to understand it and/or combat it.

Perhaps there is more to it?

I hope there is more to it. I have had extremist literature in the past, really just to see how they think, not to join up. The line is crossed when words become action. Otherwise they just annoying not law breakers. I am against the tought police in all forms.

Sounds to me like conspiracy:

[quote]
The three students from Bradford University in northern England were arrested after Mohammed Irfan Raja ran away from his home in London last year, leaving a note for his parents saying he was going to fight abroad.[/quote]

If they conspired (and if there is evidence to support this) to commit illegal acts, that is illegal at least in the US. Though I suppose it is a form of thought crime. But that’s better than being jailed for possession of “extremist literature.”

More details by the AP.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6806865,00.html

It’s a tough call IMHO. They apparently had no evidence to back conspiracy charges, so it was ultimately up to the judge to decide. The one thing I’m sure about, is I’d hate to be in his/her honour’s shoes.