Former leader of Ku Klux Klan jailed for racial harassment

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The Independent Online

A former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Britain was jailed for three months yesterday for the racist harassment of an Asian shopkeeper.

Allan Beshella, a convicted paedophile who styled himself the "Grand Dragon", was placed under a two-year restraining order banning him from the shop in Maesteg, south Wales.

But the victim, Mohammed Nawaz, 37, and anti-racist campaigners criticised the sentence – passed by Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones QC, at Cardiff Crown Court – as too lenient. Mr Nawaz said: "I am very disappointed and will definitely be moving out of the area ... It really worries me."

Beshella, 52, of Tonna Road, Maesteg, south Wales, had entered Caerau Discount Store on 14 September last year to threaten Mr Nawaz, who lived there with his wife, his three children and his 75-year-old mother. Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting, said Beshella had asked Mr Nawaz what his views were on the 11 September attacks in America. He had then said "I am the Klan man" and "kill the Jews". He had called at the shop again on 28 September with a friend and made further threats. The friend, who has also been charged, allegedly refused to pay for two beers and said to the assistant: "You've got a pretty face. I'm going to mess it up."

Beshella, who has lived in America, claims to have been the driving force behind establishing the British branch of the KKK. The Bridgend Coalition Against Racism said: "People were expecting a much longer sentence. This is a man who has terrorised an area for a long period of time."