Scottish man teaches dog to do the Nazi salute

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A man who uploaded a YouTube video of his girlfriend's dog performing "Nazi salutes" has been convicted of hate crime.

Mark Meechan, 30, published a video to his Count Dankula channel in 2016 showing his girlfriend's dog lifting its front right leg in response to repeated verbal statements like "Sieg Heil" and "gas the Jews".

Appearing at Airdrie Sheriff Court near Glasgow, Mark Meechan was charged under the Communications Act for posting a video that was "anti-Semitic and racist in nature", The Telegraph reported.

Meechan denied the allegations and insisted he was not anti-Semitic, saying that teaching the dog to act like a Nazi was nothing more than a joke meant to upset his girlfriend.

He said there was "no evidence" of a complainer in the case, saying Police Scotland was not contacted by anyone who found the video offensive.

Suzanne Kelly, the girlfriend, defended Meechan a year ago in court, saying he is not anti-Semitic and has "always been very supportive towards minority groups", according to the paper. "The description of the video as humorous is no magic wand", Sheriff Derek O'Carroll said.

While Sheriff acknowledged Meehan was an "intelligent and articulate man", he said the accused knew the material he published was offensive.

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He added "the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people".

Meechan said in the video that he trained the dog to annoy his girlfriend.

After the verdict Ricky Gervais, the comedian, tweeted: "If you don't believe in a person's right to say things that you might find "grossly offensive", then you don't believe in freedom of speech".

"I think it is a very dark day in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of expression", he said.

In his Twitter bio he describes himself as a "professional sh*tposter" who is "going to jail for a joke" and according to one of his latest posts, he might be placed under house arrest, while awaiting sentencing, which will take place on April 23.

There is no right to freedom of speech in the United Kingdom, with laws against hate speech and libel.

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