News from Europe

The UK’s Home Secretary clarified the country’s stance on silent prayer

The Home Secretary of the UK has now clarified that “silent prayer, within itself, is not unlawful” in a letter for the police forces across the country. This statement comes in response to many months of controversy over "buffer zones" outside abortion facilities that have led to the arrest of several citizens for praying silently in their minds inside a buffer zone.


The letter was released a couple of days before First Minister Humza Yousaf reiterated his support for a censorial “buffer zones” policy to be implemented in Scotland.

So far, in the last 12 months, three individuals have been prosecuted for praying silently in their minds near abortion facilities in England.

“The government’s focus on restoring common sense to British policing is welcome and long overdue. Too often, arrests have been justified by reference to subjective notions of offence rather than an objective application of the law. Politicised policing seriously threatens democracy, which relies on the right to freedom of speech and free and frank exchange of viewpoints to be effectively realised,” commented Jeremiah Igunnubole, Legal Counsel for ADF UK, a human rights organisation.

A prominent case of arrest for praying was Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was seen being arrested on a viral video during the Winter of 2022 after admitting to police that she “might be” praying in her head. She was criminally charged and tried in court in March. She was found “not guilty” but was arrested again under the exact charges a couple of weeks later.


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