Gracie Bradley - 11 December 2018
We should cherish dissenters trying to stop human rights abuses – not imprison them under anti-terrorism laws designed to prevent further Lockerbie bombings.
In March 2017, fifteen people tried to stop a secretive mass deportation to Nigeria and Ghana from Stansted Airport. Now known as the ‘Stansted 15’, they assert that the people on the plane would have faced gross human rights abuses on arrival, and that the mass deportation process was itself barely legal in the first place.
Their wholly peaceful and carefully planned protest was an attempt to protect people from harm, and to bring the issue of secretive mass deportations to public attention.
What the protestors were not prepared for was prosecution under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act. That Act, and the offence protestors have been charged with – ‘ intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome’ - was introduced after the Lockerbie bombing and designed with the most dangerous terrorism in mind. It carries, on conviction, a possible life sentence. So when then Attorney General Jeremy Wright gave permission to use this legislation to prosecute civil disobedience, it was a deeply cynical move, and a dangerous precedent. And it is a damning indictment of our government that today these peaceful protestors have been convicted.... See more
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