London, April 22. 22/02:03 p.m. (ACI). Rosa Lalor, 76, was arrested and fined after a silent prayer as she passed an abortion center in England.
On February 24, 2021, Rosa Lallor left her home in Liverpool, England, to go to pray in silence, as she did almost every day during isolation due to the pandemic. She was alone, respecting social distancing and wearing a mask and headphones while walking.
At the time, the UK government allowed and encouraged citizens to walk, as long as they respected the social distancing and biosecurity measures imposed against the coronavirus.
When Lalor passed an abortion center, which performed more than 4,000 abortions in 2020, she was stopped by police officers who interrogated her and arrested her. Then she was fined 200 euros (about 1,000 Brazilian reais) for praying silently on public roads, after being accused of violating anti-coronavirus rules. The case is in court.
In a press article National Catholic RegisterOf the EWTN group to which ACI Digital belongs, reporter KV Turkley explained that police asked Lalor why she was outdoors, and she replied that she was “walking and praying”. The police then told her that she did not pray in a place of worship and had no “reasonable excuse” for being outdoors; They accused her of being around the abortion center to “protest”.
ADF UK, Religious Freedom Legal Defense Organization, Lalor Help.
Jeremiah Egonopol, ADF lawyer in the UK, told Sign Up Via email that “according to police, Rosa was arrested for not having a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave her home, despite walking alone in a public place and complying with all relevant health standards and regulations. She was praying silently as she walked as part of her daily exercise, which is an order Legal and recommended at this time.”
“Of course, if Rosa had not prayed, today she would not be accused of a crime,” said Igonopol. “The police officer misinterpreted the well-established laws protecting freedom of religion and expression in public, or, most worryingly, because he deliberately ignored them.”
“No one should be criminalized just for praying, which is why we support Rosa’s defense and hope for a positive outcome,” the lawyer said. He highlighted, in his commentary, that Lalor has a strong defense appealing “directly for exemptions under the coronavirus regulations and for his fundamental rights.”
Torkeley, an ADF lawyer in the UK, said he hoped Lalor’s fine would be reviewed in light of the fact that relevant regulations had not replaced or amended the Human Rights Act 1998, which protects freedom of thought, conscience and expression of religion in public.
For counsel, Lalor’s case shows the need for UK police officers to receive specific training to ensure adequate knowledge of the human rights laws that apply to criminal offences, particularly when the alleged offense relates to religion or freedom of expression.
Igonopoli said officers have repeatedly shown that they cannot “find a balance between dealing with genuine criminal behavior and standing up for basic rights”.
For Australian Defense Alliance lawyers in the UK, even if Lalor was acquitted, the uncertainty and delay surrounding these cases “caused her great suffering and exacerbated the chilling effect of the arrest and prosecution”.
In a statement issued through his attorney, Lalor noted that his prayers were “in the privacy of my mind” and reaffirmed his commitment to fight, through his cause, for the fundamental freedoms of all British citizens.
“I never thought that in a democratic country like the UK I would be arrested for one simple prayer outing,” Lalor said. “What kind of society are we when people can be arrested simply for peacefully expressing their faith in public?”
“I have always respected the law and have never wanted to engage in legal action, but have been fined just for praying while walking, knowing this is an important challenge to be faced. With the support of ADF UK, I am taking a stand to protect fundamental freedoms for all people.”
Robert Colquhoun, UK Director of International Campaigns for Pro-Life Advocacy 40 days for life, told the Register that they had “supported Rosa throughout her case” and ensured that she “receives the best possible assistance, legal and economic support”; “The conditions are necessary to act in accordance with your conscience,” Turkle said.
“The right to express your faith in a public place, including in silent prayer, is a fundamental human right protected by national and international law,” Colquhon said. “These types of arrests expose law-abiding individuals to horrific and protracted criminal trials,” he added.
He said Lalor’s case “raises the question of what kind of society we are when people can be arrested simply for peacefully expressing their faith in public.” He concluded, “Rosa never thought that in a democratic country she would be arrested for one simple and lonely prayer outing.”
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