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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Court of Appeal referral denied
'Free Satpal' campaign
Campaigners say Satpal Ram is a political prisoner
Supporters of a man who is serving a life sentence for murder have failed to get his case referred to the Court of Appeal.

Satpal Ram was convicted of murdering Clarke Pearce at a restaurant in Birmingham 14 years ago.

Campaigners fighting to free him have always maintained his innocence, claiming he acted in self-defence against a racist attack.

Last month, Home Secretary Jack Straw rejected Ram's application for parole, despite a recommendation from the Parole Board that he should go free.

'Proved wrong'

Now a decision to have his case referred to the Court of Appeal has been turned down.

Mr Pearce's sister, Naydeen O'Neill, said that she was delighted the case has been thrown out.

She told BBC Radio WM: "It has proved all along what we have said, that he is uncontrollable.

Satpal Ram
Satpal Ram has served 14 years in prison

"He did what he did and he is not sorry. He could have been out a long time ago but only has himself to blame."

She added: "He has got to face up to what he did and show some remorse but he hasn't.

"This decision has proved all those campaigners wrong and I hope they realise what type of person he is.

"Truthfully I hope he never gets out. My brother can't get out of his grave. He took my brother's life and I only hope he manages to sort his brain out before he ever gets released."

'Political prisoner'

Ram was convicted of killing Mr Pearce in 1986.

He stabbed the 21-year-old following an argument over the playing of Asian music at the Sky Blue restaurant in the Lozells area of Birmingham.

He appealed against his conviction in 1995 but the appeal was rejected.

His case has become a focal point for campaigners, including celebrities such as singer Apache Indian, who have likened him to a political prisoner.

In the last 15 years he has been moved between more than 60 prisons.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | UK
Parole decision criticised
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