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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Sheridan jailed after protest
Tommy Sheridan
Mr Sheridan faces seven days in jail
Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan has been jailed for seven days for the non-payment of a fine imposed after a demonstration at the Faslane naval base last year.

In an appearance which lasted less than a minute, Mr Sheridan told Stipendiary Magistrate Robert Hamilton that he had no intention of paying the fine.

As he was led out of Glasgow District Court by police officers his mother Alice shouted out "keep walking in the light son" and his father-in-law raised his fist in salute.

On the instruction of the magistrate, his father-in-law was led from the court by police officers and taken into custody.

What enrages me is that people like Tommy are campaigning for peace and the individuals who make these weapons of mass destruction are rolling in money
Alice Sheridan
MSP's mother
The magistrate told people in the court: "I am trying to run a court not a circus."

Mr Sheridan, a list MSP for Glasgow, was the first person on the court list on Monday and he was cheered and applauded by other people waiting in the custody room when he was called to appear.

Asked by the magistrate if he was going to pay his fine and if he wanted further time to do so, Mr Sheridan replied: "I am not. I have no intention of paying."

He was arrested at Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde - home to the UK's Trident submarine fleet - during a demonstration in February 2002.

He was fined 200 for breach of the peace at Helensburgh District Court in August 2002.

After refusing to pay the fine, an arrest warrant was issued.

Mr Sheridan reported to Govan Police Station in Glasgow shortly after 2200 BST on Sunday.

'Excellent example'

Speaking outside the court, his 65-year-old mother said: "I have utter contempt for the verdict and I am very proud of what Tommy has done.

"What enrages me is that people like Tommy are campaigning for peace and the individuals who make these weapons of mass destruction are rolling in money.

"It costs 5,000 million a year to keep Trident going. Imagine how many hospitals, houses and homes for the elderly we could build with that money."

Mrs Sheridan said her son would be serving his sentence in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison.

While she said her son was setting an "excellent example" to his fellow elected politicians", the Scottish Tories were scathing.

Party chief whip Bill Aitken, MSP, said: "Scotland's police and our criminal justice system are trying hard to cope with the rising tide of violent crime.

"So the ego tripping antics of Tommy Sheridan that waste valuable time and resources are an affront to all honest citizens and an abuse of our police and courts."

Bill Aitken
Bill Aitken criticised Mr Sheridan
Before handing himself in to police on Sunday night, Mr Sheridan told reporters: "Nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity and should be removed from the Clyde and from Britain.

"It is the duty of all peace protesters to make a stand against nuclear weapons.

"Politicians in particular should be at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament campaign.

"If we spent our money on pensions and hospitals instead of nuclear bombs, our society would be a much better place to live."

Mr Sheridan's campaigning has seen him jailed on a number of occasions.

He served five days of a 14-day sentence in 2000 for non-payment of a fine following a protest at Faslane in January of that year.

He served six months in 1992 for attempting to stop a warrant sale.

He then spent two-and-a-half days in Barlinnie 1994 for his role in trying to prevent a poinding - the pricing of goods in preparation for the enforced sales of a debtor's possessions.

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MSP cleared of nuclear base protest
25 Jun 02  |  Scotland

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