Monday, 18 April 2011
Andrew Ryan, a former soldier and a current EDL member, has been sentenced to 70 days in prison for stealing a Koran and setting fire to it in Carlisle city centre.

Andrew Ryan had previously admitted religiously aggravated harassment and theft of a Koran from a library.

The 32-year-old, of Summerhill, said he had been "shocked" watching a Muslim burning a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Shoppers and schoolchildren witnessed the burning, outside the old Town Hall, on 19 January.

Describing it as a case of "theatrical bigotry", Judge Gerald Chalk said "It was pre-planned by you as you stole the book deliberately. You went out to cause maximum publicity and to cause distress."

Ryan struggled with security guards in court after the sentence was passed.

While being handcuffed he shouted: "What about my country? What about burning poppies?"

About 10 people were in court to support Ryan, and as they left the court they shouted "do you call this justice?".

Just to be clear, Ryan was sentenced to 70 days' imprisonment specifically for the Koran burning. The actual theft of the book was treated separately. He was sentenced to 30 days for that, to run concurrently with the longer sentence.



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