Teenagers given referral orders for writing 'Free Palestine' on war memorial

Teenagers given referral orders for writing 'Free Palestine' on war memorial

WATCH: A Palestine flag was placed on Rochdale Cenotaph which caused anger among the community

GB News
Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler

Published: 23/04/2024

- 12:46

The Rochdale Cenotaph was damaged over a two-day period by separate teenage attackers

Three teenagers have received community-based sentences after writing the words "Free Palestine" on Rochdale Cenotaph.

Adeem Ahmed and Amaan Tariq, both 18, and a 17-year-old - who cannot be named for legal reasons - were given six-month referral orders.

On November 7 last year, the town’s war memorial was targeted just one day after a separate incident where two other teenagers damaged poppy wreaths while shouting antisemitic language.

Ahmed, Tariq and the 17-year-old pleaded guilty to criminal damage and were set to face trial this month after they denied the damage was racially aggravated.

Police officer standing in front of vandalism on Rochdale CenotaphPolice guarded Rochdale Cenotaph after it was vandalised with 'free Palestine' graffiti GB News

However, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the trial "on evidential grounds".

The trio were then sentenced to the referral orders and forced to pay £140 in compensation, £85 court costs and a £26 victim surcharge.

Tariq and the youth also pleaded guilty to the theft of spray cans and paint brushes from B&M Bargains in Rochdale.

When District Judge Joanne Hirst fixed the trial date she told the teenagers: "You have pleaded guilty to a very serious offence.


"Desecration of a cenotaph is not a normal case of criminal damage.

"War memorials are generally expected to be treated with respect.

"You might be interested to know that more than five-and-a-half million Muslims died in the Second World War fighting for freedom.

"Be under no illusion that the sentence will be serious because of the serious nature of the desecration of cenotaphs."

Cenotaph in London

Police locked down the London Cenotaph ahead of Armistice Day protests

Met Police

In a separate case, two 17-year-old boys were sentenced to 10-month referral orders in January over the damage to the memorial wreaths on November 6.

The duo filmed the offence before uploading the video to social media.

The teenagers claimed they were furious after seeing a video online of a man removing Palestinian flags from the cenotaph.

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