United Kingdom man convicted of hate crime for Nazi-salute dog video

Mark Meechan taught his girlfriend's dog to give a Nazi salute

A 30-year-old man named Mark Meechan from Coatbridge, Scotland was fined £800 for filming his girlfriend's pug, "Buddha", doing Nazi salutes.

Scottish man Mark Meechan (a.k.a. "Count Dankula") was convicted last month for violating the Communications Act and became an global story over the absurdity of the case.

Fining Meechan £800, the sheriff told him: "The centrepiece of your video consists of you repeating the phrase "Gas the Jews" over and over again as a command to a dog which then reacts".

The video also sees Meechan playing speeches by Adolf Hitler to the dog.

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He had denied any wrong-doing and insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend.

The punishment comes some two years after the video was originally broadcast on the YouTube platform, which Meechan maintained was a joke meant to irritate his girlfriend, but the judge said was actually a "grossly offensive" communication and it was "self evident" that the joke was anti-Semitic.

O'Carroll added that it was of "little assistance" to that he didn't intend for the joke to be actually racist, but Meechan is not taking the ruling lying down (pun intended) and plans to appeal his sentence.

"A man has been convicted in a United Kingdom court of making a joke that was deemed 'grossly offensive, '" Ricky Gervais wrote on Twitter after the conviction.

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Meechan, who regularly posts videos on YouTube under the name Count Dankula, was convicted of committing a crime under the Communications Act which was aggravated by religious prejudice.

"This is a really unsafe precedent to set, for people to say things and their context to be completely ignored and then they can be convicted for it", Meechan later told the press.

Dozens of supporters of Meechan, including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, were at Airdrie Sheriff Court for the court hearing on Monday. "Because in 1940s Germany, that would have got you arrested and murdered for taking the piss".

But the conviction sparked widespread concern from freedom of speech campaigners and comedians including Ricky Gervais, 56.

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He tweeted: "A man has been convicted in a United Kingdom court of making a joke that was deemed "grossly offensive". The man responsible said he had intended the video to be a joke.

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