By B. Cohen
A leading Iranian democracy activist has responded angrily to remarks made by the British judge who yesterday sentenced a man to a jail term of 16 months for an assault on George Galloway, the British parliamentarian notorious for his support of dictatorial regimes and his detestation of Israel.
In sentencing Neil Masterson, a 39 year-old care worker who assaulted the MP as he posed for pictures in west London at the end of August, Judge Aidan Marron QC sympathetically described Galloway as still suffering “from real physical consequences” as a result of the attack.
“Equally significantly, [Galloway] still harbors real anxieties and concerns about venturing out to meetings and the like and takes security staff with him,” Judge Marron said. “That has a profound impact on his professional and social life.”
But Saba Farzan, a German-Iranian journalist and the Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Circle, a Berlin-based think-tank, told The Algemeiner that Galloway’s support for tyrannical regimes, like the reigning mullahs in Iran, should never be forgotten.
“Mr. Galloway is now going through what so many innocent prisoners suffer from on a daily basis – from Tehran to Moscow to Caracas, democrats are abused, tortured, raped and even killed,” Farzan said.
Several of Farzan’s relatives and close friends have been incarcerated by the Iranian regime in Tehran’s Evin prison, where inmates are routinely beaten, tortured, starved, and subjected to psychological humiliation.
“George Galloway has always been a voice for dictators around the world who oppress their citizens viciously and with impunity,” Farzan said. “Maybe for once – though sadly through a terrible personal attack on himself – Mr. Galloway can find the courage and human decency to abandon his admiration for evil human rights abusers and start honestly defending democracy activists around the globe.”
Throughout his career, Galloway has associated with a dizzying range of dictators and terrorist groups. During a visit to Iraq in 1994, he told the then dictator Saddam Hussein, “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.” Addressing a July 2006 London rally protesting Israel’s defensive war against the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon, Galloway declared, “I am here to glorify the Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah!” The MP has also hosted discussion programs on Press TV, the Holocaust-denying, English language mouthpiece of the Iranian regime, as well as on RT, the Russian broadcaster which faithfully promotes the political line of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Galloway has regularly decried Israel as an “illegal” state and supports its elimination. Last August, at the height of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Galloway was questioned by police over inciting racial hatred in his constituency of Bradford West, in the north of England, after he declared the city to be an “Israel-free zone.”
“We don’t want any Israeli goods, we don’t want any Israeli services, we don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so,” Galloway ranted.
Shortly after those comments, Galloway was attacked by Neil Masterson on August 30 as he posed for pictures with two Moroccan men on Golborne Road, a major thoroughfare in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood. After Masterson spotted the MP, he ran towards him and assaulted him with a series of blows to the face and body. Masterson also shoved a bystander, Dr. Mostafa Maroof, when he attempted to intervene.
Masterson, who is not Jewish, justified the attack by calling Galloway a “serpent” and an “enemy of Judaism.” The 16 month sentence he received was punishment for the attacks on both Galloway and Dr. Maroof.