A 76-year-old woman from Liverpool, United Kingdom has been waiting for justice for more than a year now from being arrested for walking and praying silently during COVID lockdowns.
CBN News reported that the Liverpdulian grandmother Rosa Lalor was arrested on February 24, 2021 for silently praying outside an abortion clinic she passed during her regular morning walk. Lalor was detained in the police car, charged with violating the COVID-19 guidelines, and fined 200 pounds. Since then, she has been waiting for her trial.
Alliance Defending Freedom UK, a faith-based legal organization, announced on Thursday that they are supporting Lalor for challenging the injustice she experienced. ADF UK raised that the grandmother was fined for praying during a lockdown and compared its gravity to politicians who were fined for partying during the pandemic.
Law-abiding Grandmother Gets Arrested For Praying
According to the legal organization, Lalor has always been careful in following rules and has never been a lawbreaker. This was why she walked alone and was socially distanced as prescribed by law that morning of her arrest. UK's lockdown guidelines allowed such walks. Lalor went extra careful by wearing a mask alongside her headphones as she would for her morning walk, which has been ongoing for months despite the pandemic.
Lalor stopped in front of an abortion facility to pray silently on it. She was surprised when a police officer stopped her to ask why wasn't she home. She responded that she was walking and praying. The police officer rebutted that she was not in a place of worship as she prayed and that she had no "reasonable excuse" to be outside. The law enforcer claimed that she was there in protest.
In a statement released by ADF UK, Lalor expressed complete shock at being arrested "for a simple and solitary prayer walk" knowing that she is in a democratic country like the UK. She pointed out that she was praying in the privacy of her own mind. She raised what kind of society the UK has become for arresting people "simply for peacefully manifesting their faith in public."
ADF UK Legal Counsel Jeremiah Igunnubole, on the other hand, raised that no one should be criminalized for the public expression of one's faith, which is a fundamental right protected by domestic and international laws.
"Whether under coronavirus regulations or any other law, it is the duty of police to uphold, rather than erode, the rights and freedoms of women like Rosa. Such arrests subject otherwise law-abiding individuals to distressing and drawn-out criminal proceedings, leading to a chilling effect on freedom of expression and religion generally," Igunnubole said.
"We are pleased to stand alongside her in seeking justice," he emphasized.
A Grandmother Fights For Religious Freedom
Igunnubole cited the repeated wrongful arrests made by UK law enforcement in the guise of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Arrests such as that of street preachers to the denial of Sir David Amess' last rights are proofs of the government's failure to strike a balance between upholding fundamental rights and addressing true criminal behavior. The legal counsel highlighted that Lalor's story exposes the need of law enforcement officials for better training "on how to strike such a balance."
Meanwhile, LifeSiteNews reported that the police accused Lalor of protesting in front of the abortion clinic since a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil was being held then. The lockdown has prompted 40 Days for Life to have two persons conduct the vigil outside the abortion clinic per day in compliance with the law. The vigil accordingly started on February 17, 2021.
The pro-life media outlet said the two police officers were aboard their van when they passed Lalor that Wednesday morning. They took a photo of her before they even approached her to ask what she was doing.
When the elderly woman defended herself by pointing to the abortion clinic from which people continuously emerged, the police reasoned that abortions were essential services. This was after the officers claimed not to see the people the elderly woman pointed at. The police claimed she was eight miles from home instead of three for arresting her and for fining her for COVID-19 regulations violation.
In line with the arrest, the 40 Days for Life UK told the National Catholic Register last month that they are supporting Lalor in filing a case for religious freedom. The organization also said they even helped her find the best legal help and support through ADF. This is on top of assisting her with the finances she needs for the case and all that is needed "to make sure that she has all the necessary conditions to act according to her conscience."