MEDIA and entertainment union, BECTU, has today insisted that the BNP should not be given airtime to promote its racist politics.
The union’s statement comes in reply to the BBC’s decision to accept a proposal from the producers of Question Time that BNP leader, Nick Griffin, should join the panel for the programme on Thursday 22 October.
Commenting on the BBC’s decision, BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey said: ‘Contrary to what the BBC has said, the BNP is not a legitimate political party in our eyes.
‘The union has also criticised the justice minister, Jack Straw, for his decision to take part in the broadcast planned for 22 October.
‘Jack Straw’s decision is doing damage to his credibility as a senior government figure and to the Labour Party. We call upon him to reverse his decision to take part,’ Gerry Morrissey continued.
BECTU represents production staff across all roles in broadcasting and has on previous occasions pledged to support any member who chooses, as a matter of conscience, not to work on output which either involves or promotes the BNP. In the past broadcasters have respected that individuals can exercise this choice.
BECTU has today reiterated that same commitment to support all members who choose not to work on this particular edition of Question Time if it goes ahead with a BNP representative on the panel.
• Second news story
BAHA MOUSA BEGGED FOR MERCY
AN Iraqi man has told the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry in London that he heard the hotel receptionist beg for mercy before his death at the hands of British troops in September 2003.
A post-mortem examination of Baha Mousa’s body revealed he had suffered at least 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, following his detention with nine other civilians by British forces in Basra.
In a statement to the inquiry, witness ‘D1’, who was detained with Baha Mousa, said: ‘On the evening of the second night, everyone was screaming, then some time during all this commotion, I remember hearing Baha Mousa’s voice.
‘I knew it was Baha because I had known him for a long time and could recognise his voice.
‘It seemed as if he wasn’t that far away from me and the other detainees.
‘I heard him crying out something like, “I am very tired, I can tolerate no more, please give me five minutes. Have mercy on me, I’m dying. I’m about to die, help me”.
‘Then after a while I did not hear Baha scream out any more.’
Describing the men’s treatment, the witness said: ‘I was terrified, I was afraid, I was in pain.
‘I was afraid that I would be beaten at any minute.’
Baha Mousa, a father-of-two, was 26 years old, when he died in British army custody six years ago.
The inquiry into his murder has already heard that troops subjected him and his fellow detainees to abuse, forcing them to scream in an ‘orchestrated choir’ while they beat them.
Another witness, ‘D3’ told the inquiry that the detainees had been hooded and handcuffed, were forced to stand and not allowed to sleep for three days.
He said the soldiers punched detainees in the chest and kneed them in the stomach, and one spat in his face.
‘Once two soldiers punched me at the same time as if they were acting in a movie. They were laughing,’ he said.
Baha Mousa’s father has already given evidence to the inquiry.
Daoud Mousa said: ‘I sense that it might be convenient to blame everything on a few rogue soldiers. I would like to see whether that is really the case, or whether some of the practices that went on with my son also went on elsewhere.’