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Britain's 'Naked Rambler' loses legal bid to have public nudity declared a human right

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LONDON — A British man who spurns clothes has lost a legal bid to have public nudity declared a human right.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Stephen Gough's rights were not violated by repeated arrests and convictions for being naked in public.

The court said Gough's legal woes were the result of conduct that could be "alarming and morally and otherwise offensive" to others.

Gough, a 55-year-old former Royal Marine nicknamed the "Naked Rambler," has twice walked the length of Britain, with frequent interruptions for arrests, court appearances and jail time. He has served multiple sentences for appearing nude in places including courts and an airplane.

He was arrested more than 30 times in Scotland between 2003 and 2012, the court noted, and he spent more than seven years in detention there between May 2006 and October 2012.

"His imprisonment was the consequence of his repeated violation of the criminal law, in full knowledge of the consequences, through conduct which went against the standards of accepted public behavior in any modern democratic society," the court said.

There is no law in Britain against public nudity. However, there are laws against indecent exposure or behavior likely to cause "harassment, alarm or distress."

Gough called the judgment a disappointment but added: "I have no choice but to continue."

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PHOTO: FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 2012 file photo, Stephen Gough, nicknamed the Naked Rambler, walks near Selkirk, Scotland. Gough, who spurns clothes lost a legal bid on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 to have public nudity declared a human right. The European Court of Human Rights says Stephen Gough's rights were not violated by repeated arrests and convictions for being naked in public. (AP Photo/PA, David Cheskin, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 2012 file photo, Stephen Gough, nicknamed the Naked Rambler, walks near Selkirk, Scotland. Gough, who spurns clothes lost a legal bid on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 to have public nudity declared a human right. The European Court of Human Rights says Stephen Gough's rights were not violated by repeated arrests and convictions for being naked in public. (AP Photo/PA, David Cheskin, File)

 

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