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UK Politician Arrested for Burning a Koran -- Released on Alleged Technicality

"...almost certainly other proceedings will ensue."

BNP candidate Sion Owens.

A politician in Britain was arrested this weekend after video of him allegedly burning a Koran recently surfaced.

Sion Owens, a BNP candidate in the upcoming Welsh Assembly elections, was charged under the Public Order Act. Joanne Shannon, another BNP candidate, was also arrested in connection with the incident. The Daily Mail reports:

[Owens] was said to have soaked the Islamic holy book in kerosene, set fire to it and watched it burn. Footage was then apparently circulated among extremists. [...]

Owens, who allegedly wore a  T-shirt emblazoned with the words 'Whitelaw No Surrender’ during the burning, was arrested within hours of police receiving the video footage. He is due to appear before Swansea magistrates today. [...]

It is unclear when the alleged burning took place.

But after appearing in court over the weekend, the BBC says that on Monday the case was "withdrawn." Still, that doesn't mean Owens has nothing to worry about. The local prosecutor reportedly vowed to continue investigating the incident and that "almost certainly other proceedings will ensue." That could be because, as The Independent reports, Owens's release was due to a technical slip-up on the part of the authorities:

An unconfirmed source in court today claimed that the permission of the Attorney General must be sought before such a charge can be made.

In the case of Mr Owens, it was not.

The Independent adds that the prosecutor in the case read the charge in court, which accused Owens of having in his possession "a record of visual images or sounds showing you burning a copy of the Koran whilst saying 'I am burning the Holy Koran and I hope that you Muslims are watching."'

A BNP Party spokesperson said that Owens and Shannon would remain on their respective tickets. Both were released from police custody.

A previous Koran-burning oversee by Florida pastor Terry Jones caused a widespread backlash by Muslims worldwide. Several people have been killed as a result, including two UN workers in Afghanistan who were beheaded.

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