A Labour peer who blamed his imprisonment on a "Jewish conspiracy" was suspended by the party Thursday morning, The Times reported.
The British newspaper reported that Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who was jailed for dangerous driving after sending text messages shortly before a fatal motorway accident, made the claim during a television interview in Pakistan.
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In the broadcast he claimed that the Jewish owners of newspapers and television channels pressured the courts to punish him more severely than was warranted by his offence.
The Times reported that Martyn Gombar, a 28-year-old Slovakian, was killed on Christmas Day in 2007 after his stationary car was hit by Lord Ahmed’s Jaguar on the M1 near Sheffield. A lengthy police investigation found that Ahmed sent and received a series of five substantial text messages while travelling at up to 70 mph. The final message was sent less than two minutes before the fatal collision.
Because no causal link could be established between the crash and Lord Ahmed’s texts, the 55-year-old Pakistan-born businessman was not charged with causing death by dangerous driving. He faced the lesser offence of dangerous driving and pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in December 2008, the British newspaper reported.
During the interview in Pakistan, which was apparently aired last April, Lord Ahmed claimed that he should have been sentenced by a magistrate. "My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this," he said.
A criminal law expert told The Times that if Lord Ahmed had made such claims in Britain he could have faced prosecution for a hate crime.
Ahmed said Wednesday that he had "no recollection" of giving the TV interview last year.
The Times said Nazir Ahmed, who grew up in Rotherham and ran a number of shops in the town, was an elected Labor councilor who was made a life peer by Tony Blair in 1998 and has since become "one of Britain’s most prominent Muslim political leaders."
The Times reported that Lord Ahmed was suspended from the party last year after accusations he called for a $16 million bounty for the capture of US Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He denied the claims.
Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was quoted by the British daily as saying: "We are appalled by Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments which recall the worst Jewish conspiracy theories. However outlandish and incredible his allegations, there will always be gullible or malicious individuals or groups that will accept what he has said and add to the growth of anti-Semitic discourse."
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