Trial date set for woman who held up Barverman/Sunak ‘coconut’ placard

Marieha Hussain

Marieha Hussain pleaded not guilty to a racially aggravated offence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, after holding up a placard comparing Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman to coconuts at a pro Palestine demonstration last year.

The court scheduled a two-day trial starting on September 12 although the hearing was overshadowed by the arrest of six CAGE International employees outside the court. All have now been released without charge.

Marieha Hussain issued the following statement after the hearing: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time out to be here today. Your support gives me strength, courage, and motivation to face the media that vilified me and fight the charges levelled against me. Thank you for making the effort to be here; I’m truly grateful. Thank you, CAGE, Parents For Palestine, and Nelson Abbey for advocating for me and being my backbone as I navigate the challenges I’m up against.

“Today I attended court and entered my plea of not guilty. I want to make my position clear: I am facing a political charge for exercising my right to free speech in a quintessentially British way — a satirical placard. Despite this, I will continue to use my voice to speak up for genocides occurring in Palestine, Sudan, Congo, and against the Uighur Muslims.”

Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at CAGE International, added: “The public order offence Marieha Hussain has been charged with is a fig leaf to conceal the real motive: silencing pro-Palestine voices. The Government and police are weaponising every power possible to achieve this aim.”

Hussain, 37, of High Wycombe, raised the placard depicting the faces of the Prime Minister and former Home Secretary alongside coconuts under a tree on a beach.

Days later, the Metropolitan Police posted an image of her announcing she was being hunted in relation to a hate crime.

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Scotland Yard later said: “Marieha Hussain, 37, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence in relation to a placard carried during a demonstration in central London on Saturday November 14, 2023.

“She was charged by postal requisition on Friday, May 10 and will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 26.”

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