NRL News

UK Army vet decries plan to prosecute him for ‘thoughtcrime’ of silent prayer

by | Nov 20, 2023

By Bridget Sielicki 

A United Kingdom Army veteran who is facing criminal charges for silently praying outside an abortion facility has released a statement warning others that their basic freedoms are in danger.

Adam Smith-Connor received a fine in December of 2022 for allegedly violating a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Bournemouth. In a video of his interaction, he can be heard telling the police that he is standing there “praying for my son, who is deceased.” Though Smith-Connor’s actions were non-violent and non-confrontational, and he was simply praying to himself, he now faces criminal charges for this action.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom U.K., Smith-Connor paid for the abortion of his first son many years ago, before converting to Christianity. He now prays outside the abortion facility for his son and all the children and mothers affected by abortion. He purposely prays with his back to the facility, so as not to give any impression that he is trying to engage with the women entering or leaving.

In August, Smith-Connor was formally charged with breaking the “buffer zone” ordinance. He pled not guilty to the charges.

“You might think this is a story from Orwell’s 1984 – but in fact this is happening in England in 2023,” Adam Smith-Connor said in a statement released on November 9.

“Thoughtcrimes’ shouldn’t be prosecuted in the UK.”

“Britain has a history of upholding human rights we can be proud of, and a respect for freedom that I fought to uphold when I served this country for twenty years in the army reserves, including in Afghanistan,” he went on. “I fought to defend our freedoms – but now my own freedom of thought is in jeopardy.”

“How can we send our troops out to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice when back home, police are arresting people for peacefully practicing their faith and offering charitable support to families in crisis?” he added. “This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday. We remember the war dead by upholding the freedoms for which they sacrificed themselves. Sadly, today, we are in danger of dismantling the values for which they died.”

Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK, noted that Smith-Connor was targeted simply because he told the police officers that he was praying for his deceased son. “If Adam had been thinking about an issue other than abortion – for example, climate change – then there would be no issue raised here,” he said.

Smith-Connor’s next hearing was originally scheduled for November 16 but was postponed until January 18, 2024.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: Free Speech