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Man jailed for killing British queen's swan

Thursday, 23 November 2006 - 1:42am IST | Agency: AFP
Shamsu Miah, 52, killed the mute swan at a boating pond in the north Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno on September 25 -- only the second day of fasting in Britain.

LONDON: A Muslim man who was so hungry while fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that he killed a swan to eat was jailed for two months at a court in Britain on Wednesday.


Shamsu Miah, 52, killed the mute swan at a boating pond in the north Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno on September 25 -- only the second day of fasting in Britain.


All mute swans in Britain belong to the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, an historical quirk dating from the 12th century.


When challenged by police, Miah said: "I am a Muslim, I am fasting, I needed to eat."


Llandudno Magistrates Court heard that Miah had blood on his shirt and white feathers in his beard.


Prosecutor Jim Neary said: "When interviewed he said, 'I was hungry, I had to eat the swan so I killed it, I stabbed it. I did nothing wrong, it was just a bird, I needed to eat'."


"The officers told him the swan was the property of the queen and he replied, 'I hate the queen, I hate this country'."


Judge Andrew Shaw told Miah: "You killed a swan at night. It was a cruel and reprehensible act.


"I don't know how it died; there seems to be some speculation that you bit it but I accept you killed it with a knife. It is a taboo act and the only sentence I can pass is one of imprisonment."


Miah had pleaded guilty to intentionally killing a wild bird and possessing a bladed article. He was released from custody having already served his two-month sentence while on remand.




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