Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hemming and Reality

Cllr Hemming has an interesting relationship with reality.

To my post below, he adds a comment.

Aehmed is a known and correct (but not frequent) transliteration from the Arabic (remember his name is originally Arabic as are all Muslim names)...
Thanks for the educational bit about his name being of Arabic origin, John.

OK, in an entirely unscientific, but quick and dirty measure, I put Ahmed and Aehmed into Google. Ahmed returned 35 million results. Aehmed is so frequently used that Google found 10 occasions. 4 of those referred to the Liberal Democrat candidate for Aston. To call it an infrequent transliteration is something of an understatement.

Then we move on to Muhammed Afzal, who was accused of electoral fraud as a result of the 2004 election and is now standing again in Aston, after being cleared. John comments:

The disqualification was 12 months for being associated with General Corruption. The standard of proof for personal corruption was not deemed to be met (notwithstanding the identification by the police officer in the court room (BMI)). Hence Afzal's period of suspension was less than the others.
This deserves a little more scrutiny, as John appears to be trying to perpetuate an untruth.
Hey, let's ask the BBC for a comment...

Muhammed Afzal has been cleared of vote rigging allegations. A former Birmingham Labour Party councillor accused of being one of the ringleaders of a "widespread vote- rigging fraud" has cleared his name... the Court of Appeal quashed the findings of Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC on Tuesday
Not quite the lesser sentence that Cllr Hemming implies. If that isn't good enough for you, why not look at the full Appeal Court judgement of 26 May 2005?

42 - In summary, the Commissioner failed to ensure that Mr Afzal had a fair opportunity to deal with the case that the Commissioner concluded had been made out against him. This was a fundamental requirement of a fair trial... It is the principal reason why we decided that the Commissioner's findings against Mr Afzal could not stand.
Lord Justice Phillips also points out that the case against Mr Afzal stood on his presence at a warehouse where large numbers of postal votes were discovered. As his presence was not proved (and there were inconsistencies with the identification evidence - the WPC claimed she saw him, but a police note did not record his car as being present at the site). I don't intend to refight the case, but the fact stands that the

case against Mr Afzal stood or fell on the allegation that he was personally participating in the vote- rigging at the warehouse. The order that we made at the end of the hearing, quashing the findings against Mr Afzal, reflected this.

My emphasis added. No mention of a reduction in sentence and no suggestion of a twelve month ban. All this happened within a few weeks of the original judgement and Mr Afzal was allowed to vote in the General Election that followed soon thereafter. He was not disqualified for twelve months.

Of course, there are certain aspects of the case that the Appeal Court didn't review. In particular, the comments made by Richard Mawrey QC about Cllr Hemming:
...he was a dreadful witness. His evidence was largeley [sic] inadmissible hearsay. He possesses an inability to give a straigh [sic] answer to a straight question which would be the envy of a natonal [sic] politician appearing on the Today programme....
Cllr Hemming may wish to reconsider his comments.


Simon said...

Hemming's comment is simply untrue. The Arabic script version of Ahmed is أحمد (apologies if that doesn't show up). To keep it simple, this is made up of:

أ indicating a short vowel at the beginning of a sentence - in this case 'A'.

ح a 'deep' sounding letter H (there is also a 'soft' letter H in the Arabic alphabet)

م The Arabic equivalent of M.

د The Arabic equivalent of D.

(short vowels in the middle of sentences are not usually written in Arabic, hence the absence of an E.)

Hence, the name is pronounced "A-hmed". There is no way that the initial sound would be transliterated as 'ae', as this would mean the inclusion and pronunciation of an Arabic 'y' letter - ي - or possibly of a guttural letter with no equivalent in English - ع. (the Arabic script version of 'Al-Qaeda' has this letter instead of the 'e', which is why there is disagreement over the correct transliteration.)

Hope that makes sense...

PoliticalHack said...

Don't you just love the blogosphere? Now THAT is educational, Simon. Thanks.

Brummie Tory said...

I see your mate over at 'Where's Whitby?' has got bored!!!