JK Rowling in clear after hate speech law criticism, says police

JK Rowling in clear after hate speech law criticism, says police
JK Rowling in clear after hate speech law criticism, says police

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - JK Rowling will not face an investigation over her comments about a controversial new law in Scotland aimed at cutting hate speech, including against trans people, Police Scotland said yesterday. — Reuters pic

LONDON, April 3 — JK Rowling will not face an investigation over her comments about a controversial new law in Scotland aimed at cutting hate speech, including against trans people, Police Scotland said yesterday.

The Harry Potter author, an opponent of the gender identity movement, criticised the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, which came into force Monday, calling it an attack on free speech.

The law, she said in a lengthy online criticism, is “wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence those of us speaking out about the dangers of eliminating women’s and girls’ single-sex spaces”.

“I’m currently out of the country, but if what I’ve written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment,” she wrote.

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Police Scotland said they had received complaints about Edinburgh-based Rowling’s post but a spokesperson added: “The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken.”

The devolved Scottish parliament, which has lawmaking powers in some areas, passed the act to consolidate existing hate crime legislation and ban stirring up hatred against several groups.

Protected characteristics include age, disability, race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as gender identity.

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But Rowling, and others who support her views, say the new law does nothing more to protect women and girls.

She has faced a torrent of online abuse, death threats and accusations of transphobia for supporting a woman who lost her job after stating that transgender people cannot change their biological sex. — AFP

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