Thursday, 16 August 2012

Jamie Bevan, Welsh Language Campaigner Jailed for damaging a Conservative Office in fight to protect his language: But the fight continues.

Jamie Bevan, a Welsh language campaigner from Merthyr Tydfil, has been sentenced  to 35 days behind bars for failing to pay £1,021 in damages after breaking into a Conservative Party Office in protest over S4C spending cuts. He was originally jailed last August to 7 days imprisonment for breaking into the office of Conservative MP Jonathan Evans and painting a slogan on a wall calling for a genuine television service for the Welsh speaking communitiies and citizens of Wales. According  to Wales Online he said he had complained to the Court Service three times but still recieved an English-only order after breaking into Tory MP Jonathan Evans office in North Cardiff in March last year.

He told Merthyr magistrates he had no " intention" of paying the fine despite  having the means to do so and that it was a "privelege" to accept his punishment.

Rapturous applause from fellow campaigners swiftly  turned to heckles as Bevan was jailed.

Presiding magistrate Owen Jenkins said he had no choice but to send Bevan to Jail and was then confronted by screams of injustice from the public gallery.

In a dramatic finish, Bevan, who had previously jailed for seven days for breaking a curfew, raised a fist high above him as he was escorted away.

Bethan Williams, chairwoman for Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg - the Welsh Language Society - then shouted " The system is oppressive- this court is oppressive" before being dragged from the court room.

Cymdeithas yr Iath Cymrag carries a report and the satement to the court by Jamie   here:

" Over the last   year and a half I have followed completely constitutional means in complaining about the patchy and fragmented Welsh language service from the courts and justice system. I have recieved apology after apology with assurances that the systems are being put in place to make sure that these so-called mistakes don't happen again. But the monoliigual letters continue, the phone service with a Welsh language option which leads nowhere, and the sneering and disrespect from the courts staff, the police and the security staff.

According to your language scheme, there is no right for a Welsh person to get a hearing in front of a Welsh language court. It says that you will try to get a hearing in front of a Welsh language court. It says that tou will try to provide a Welsh Language court, but if tou can't do that  you will provide a translator.

Welsh speakers are under an enormous disadvantage when recieving a court hearing through the medium of a translator as a translator cannot enable the individual to communicate directly with the judge or magistrate. Actually, many lawyers advise their clients not to choose a Welsh language court case because they recognise that disadvantage. It's a disgraceful situation in the Wales of today.

Your language schemes also set out an employment strategy based on the area's language profile. So employing Welsh language speakers to enable to provide a Welsh language service depends on the percentage of local speakers and the whim of the court manager. How can you justify the fact that a Welsh person from Merthyr gets a deficient service while someone else in another part of the country recieves a better service? Welsh people in every part of Wales have a moral right to use Welsh to its fullest extent.

I have no intention of conforming. I have no intention of paying a single penny of the fine although I can do so easily finacially. Do as you please with me. I accept any result gladly."

Welsh transcript here

Let us also remember that before the General election, the Torys had promised that S4C would be safe in their hands, but is now facing a cut of 40%. What Mr Bevan was originally doin, was making a stand too against the Tory's savage austerity cuts.No one got hurt, he was carrying on a long tradition of non-violent protest. He has become an inspiration to many people here in Wales.

You could send a message of support and solidarity in the post to

Jamie Bevan
A9459CFBEVAN              A459CFBEVAN
Carchar Caerdydd             Cardiff Jail
HMP Caerdydd                 HMP Cardiff
1 Ffordd Knox                    1 Knox Road
Supporters of Mr Bevan outside courthouse


  1. diolch/thanks....Though Bevan has been subsequently released, he has declared that he would rpeat his actions again. There is still a lack of Welsh language services, in our courts and jails. Still unacceptable .

  2. The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.


  3. diolch/thanks........ much appreciated.