LONDON – A majority of the people who were named and shamed by Britain's Home Office as being banned from entering the country have never sought to travel to the U.K., it emerged Wednesday.
Two of the 16 people named by Jacqui Smith as excluded from Britain are in prison in Russia where they are serving 20-year sentences.
The disclosure came as a U.S. talk-show host said that he would sue the government for defamation after being placed on the list.
Michael Weiner, also known as Michael Savage, a shock-jock broadcaster in America, has described the Koran as “a book of hate” and questioned the validity of autism.
He told his radio audience in the U.S. that he intended to sue Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, who he described as the “lunatic... Home Secretary of England."
He said: “To link me up with skinheads who are killing people in Russia, to put me in league with Hamas murderers who kill people on buses is defamation.”
In an article posted on his Web site, he said that he did not advocate violence but traditional values.
He wrote: “What does that say about the government of England? It says more about them than it says about me.”
A leading media lawyer said today that lawyers would be “falling over themselves” to offer their services.
Mark Stephens, of the London law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, said: “He would seem to have a very good case. The people on the list who have been banned are supposed to be advocating extreme violence and so to put him into that category is clearly defamatory.
“His views, such as those on homosexuals, may be offensive but that is another thing entirely. The Home Secretary appears not to have appreciated the difference between tolerance and defamation.”
The Home Office admitted that people placed on the “banned” list had not necessarily intended or sought to come to Britain.
A spokesman said that Jacqui Smith placed people on the list after receiving submissions from officials.
Staff across Whitehall, including the intelligence services, are apparently gathering information about individuals around the world who could be included on the list even though they do not know whether the person intends to travel to Britain.
The least wanted:
Abdullah Qadri al-Ahdal, Yunis al-Astal, Samir al-Quntar, Stephen Donald Black, Wadgy Abd el-Hamied Mohamed Ghoneim, Erich Gliebe, Mike Guzovsky, Safwat Hijazi, Nasr Javed, Abdul Ali Musa (previously Clarence Reams), Fred Waldron Phelps Sr, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Artur Ryno, Amir Siddique, Pavel Skachevsky and Michael Alan Weiner (aka Michael Savage).