Ffred Ffransis, a veteran language campaigner and a committed Christian, was banned from taking a Welsh Bible into jail and forced to eat only potatoes while behind bars at Bridgend’s Parc Prison this week. Fred was sentenced to five days at Llanelli magistrates on Monday for refusing to pay an eight-year-old fine of £100. The 60-year-old campaigner said he was appalled at the lack of effort to serve the Welsh community. He was reduced to eating only potatoes because he refused to fill in an English-only form to request vegetarian food. After taking his Bible from him on the way in they didn’t provide him with a Welsh Bible in his cell either.
Ffred has been sentenced to around 6 years in total over the last 40 years, and has served around 4 years in prison. He has been sentenced to prison a total of 8 times. Here are the times he was sentenced to a lengthy periods:
- 1987 (Cardiff Court) – Campaigning for a body to develop Welsh Language Education (1 year – served 9 months)
- 1973 (Huddersfield Court) – Welsh language channel (1 year – served 9 months)
- 1971 (Mold Court) – Welsh language channel (3 years – served 2 years)
- 1970 (High Court, London) – In support of Dafydd Iwan, Road Signs campaign (3 months – served 2 months)
Personally I’ve been arrested four times in the past four years, but have never been given a prison sentence.
It’s very sad that even in modern post-devolution Wales Welsh speakers still have to resort to non-violent direct action to draw attention to our lack of civil rights in vast areas of day to day life.