The Free Satpal Campaign (also known as the Free Satpal Ram Campaign) appears to be run principally by members of Ramís family. Ramís father died in the late eighties/early nineties, but it seems unlikely that he would have had anything to do with it, much less condone its methods. According to Mrs OíNeill, the campaign proper (and the lies and hate that are inseperable from it) started about two or three years after the murder. This claim is confirmed by Ram (for what his word is worth). He was quoted thus in the Birmingham Post of January 31, 2000: ďMy troubles really started three years after my conviction when my family began a campaign to gain my release.Ē (1) If this is true then this dates the start of the Free Satpal Campaign to around June 1990.
The current writer made a careful search of most relevant publications at the Newspaper Library, but apart from local press and legal reports I could find only two mentions of Ram before 1995; the first was in an article about alleged miscarriages of justice published in the Independent in July 1992; the second was in the Communist newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! at the end of 1994/beginning of 1995; this latter is a newspaper which devotes much space to prisoners protesting their innocence, (see bibliography re both citations). The earliest report I have found to date of the Free Satpal Campaign itself is a 1992 local press article which refers to the possibility of his case being re-opened. This article does not appear to have been taken up by any other publications. The foregoing suggests that this campaign has been very carefully contrived from its inception.
When Ram was questioned by the police he claimed that he had been attacked by Pearce, and had thrown in a lot of talk about Clarke and his party using racially abusive language. Although it was suggested both at trial and at Ramís first appeal that Pearce had indeed instigated the violence, the suggestion of a racial attack was not raised (in any meaningful sense) until about 1995. (2) If there had been any truth at all in the racial attack element of this myth, then surely the Asian press, the left wing and ďanti-racistĒ press, and probably even the black press would have mentioned it, yet there appears to have been not a word from any of the usual suspects.
Ramís first appeal was based not so much on the claim of self-defence as on the alleged incompetence of Counsel and the suggestion that exculpatory evidence had not been put before the court.
By 1995, this alleged incompetence had been elaborated. Now it wasnít only that Draycott (and Linehan) had failed to put Ram in the witness box (3) and failed to call vital Asian defence witnesses, (4) Leading Counsel had also misread the pathologistís report. More specifically, this claim appears to have been concocted about the time of Ramís second appeal. The current writer was informed by a spokesman for the late Douglas Draycottís chambers that it was claimed on Radio 5 just prior to the second appeal that Draycott had been negligent; Draycott demanded a transcript, and the BBC issued an apology. (5) It is not clear if this alludes in any way to the pathologistís report. (6)
Although Mrs OíNeill - who attended the second appeal - said that it had been suggested there that Clarke had died because he refused medical treatment, the first time she heard the story of her brother discharging himself from hospital after abusing a woman doctor was when she was contacted by the current writer. This was also the first time the woman doctor concerned had heard this story, and she was not very happy with this sick claim either. The claim that he refused treatment (from a woman doctor) was made in the Sunday Express article of November 29, 1999, where it was attributed to Ramís brother. Mrs OíNeillís letter to the journalist concerned went unanswered, and the lie uncorrected.
The Free Satpal Campaign operates out of the Asian Resources Centre in Birmingham, but the girl who called me on October 29, 2000, Lesley, was phoning from 0208 522 1433, a London number.
In addition to its obviously Asian (and more parochially, family) roots, the Free Satpal Campaign has more than a fair sprinkling of white activists. These include murderess Sara Thornton, and so-called comedian Mark Thomas. A number of bands are active in the campaign including Asian Dub Foundation, and the white band Primal Scream.
The campaign has held a number of events, including, in 1995, a picket of Draycottís chambers. Members turned up and chanted:
ďDouglas Draycott is a git:
He dropped Satpal in the shit.Ē (7)
1995 was a busy year for the Ram campaign; this was when it had its first mention in the Asian press, (8) and, as stated, the first time both that the question of self-defence and a meaningful racial motive for the mythical attack on Ram were raised. (9)
The methods of the campaign are based on four well proven technique:
1) the big lie
3) playing the race card, and
The first three of these are directed principally at ordinary members of the public in a (largely successful) attempt to win them over by appealing to their sense of fair play. Protest is reserved for the legal system/government, and intimidation largely for the family of the victim.
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