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T-shirt protestor to appeal in ‘domestic extremism’ case

Veteran campaigner challenges 'extremism' database

John Catt, 87, plans to appeal against the decision of the high court to allow the police to keep his personal details on the police’s National Domestic Extremism Database, despite the fact that he has never been convicted of any crime.

Lord justice Gross and Mr justice Irwin handed down their judgement on 30 May, citing the anti-war protestor’s participation in Smash EDO protests in his home town, Brighton.

Lord Gross said: ‘Although many people at Smash EDO protests do not commit criminal offences, disorder and criminality has been a feature of a number of the protests… The compilation and retention of the reports were predictable consequences of Mr Catt’s very public activities.’

John Catt, who has spent over 70 years protesting against nuclear weapons and the Vietnam and Iraq wars, among other issues, became famous in 2005, when police stopped and searched him under anti-terrorist legislation because he was wearing a T-shirt with anti-Blair and anti-Bush slogans.

Catt’s lawyer Shamik Dutta said: ‘This judgment raises matters of constitutional importance and could impact upon anyone engaging in peaceful protest.’

Rebecca Boyle studies Arabic, human rights and social movements at Indiana University Bloomington, and is currently a PN reporter.

Topics: Civil Liberties