Police in the U.K. apologized and paid out £10,000 in damages to a female Christian evangelist who challenged her multiple 2020 arrests.
The Metropolitan Police in London conceded that they fell “below standards” in a recent letter to Hatun Tash, 40, who was wrongfully arrested twice while preaching at the Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, according to a Friday announcement from the Christian Legal Centre.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for the distress that you have suffered as a consequence of these incidents,” wrote Andy O’Donnell, Metropolitan Police Directorate of Professional Standards Civil Actions Unit.
“I hope that settlement of this claim and this recognition of the impact of what happened will enable you to put these incidents behind you,” O’Donnell added.
Tash, who is from a group called Defend Christ Critique Islam (DCCI), often spoke at the park and sometimes stoked backlash for publicly debating Islam and the Koran, including one incident in which she was reportedly stabbed in the face by Islamic extremists.
When Tash approached police, she was repeatedly arrested and accused of breaking the peace or some similar offense, according to The Times of London.
Tash took legal action against Scotland Yard after being held in custody for 24 hours before she was released without being charged. It was “abundantly clear” she should not have been arrested at all and that her detainment was unlawful, according to her legal team.
“The police should have protected her free speech by bringing more officers to Speakers’ Corner to facilitate her rights,” her legal team said in a statement.
Andrea Williams, who serves as chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, praised the move from London police. “This pay-out to Hatun is a rare admission by the police that they got it wrong,” she said in a statement.
“Hatun is a fearless and passionate woman who loves Jesus and who has love and compassion for people from all backgrounds who she debates with and wants to reach with the gospel, which has transformed her life,” she added.