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Articles from the Peace News log: Trials

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

Andrea Needham reports on the recent trial of Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse in Burnley

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Sam and Woody with supporters outside the court

Poor old British Aerospace. Not only were the first group of people to break in to their Warton site in Lancashire to disarm a warplane acquitted, now the second lot have also been found not guilty. It's curious how difficult it appears to be to convict people for acting peacefully to prevent war crimes.

The first such disarmament action took place in January 1996, when a group of women (myself included) broke in and disarmed a Hawk warplane being sold to Indonesia for use in their brutal war on the people of East Timor. Six months later, all of us were acquitted by a jury, having made the defence that we were simply using reasonable force to prevent crime, as allowed in British law.

The serial number on the casing was visible, showing that the bomb was made by Raytheon in Glenrothes, Scotland, after the war against Yemen started.

The second action took place exactly 21 years later (the date was a happy coincidence), when Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse broke in with the intention of disarming Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk warplanes which BAE is selling to Saudi Arabia. As we all know, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a brutal war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of civilian deaths. The almost total destruction of the infrastructure of the country has caused the biggest outbreak of cholera in recorded history, and millions of people are on the verge of starvation. Yet BAE continues to sell warplanes, other British companies sell bombs, and the British government falls over itself to appease the fragile Saudi ego, touchy as the rulers are about accusations of war crimes.

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Carol Fox on the background to Margaretta D’Arcy's latest imprisonment ...

ImageOn Wednesday, January 15th, 79-year old Margaretta D’Arcy, writer, member of Aosdana which honours outstanding contributors to the arts in Ireland,  and widow of the late playwright John Arden, answered a knock on the door of her small Galway City terrac

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Manchester peace protester has 'no case to answer' after being wounded by police but still faces charges from a separate arrest.

I haven't written for a month or two due to personal circumstances but now I'm back in the land of the living I'd like you all to hear about a Manchester peace protester and his court cases. Usman Hamid (affectionately known as Mani) has protested for a long time often as a single protester with hand-written placards as well as in groups, and always, always peacefully. The Manchester Evening News (M.E.N.) covered his story recently, on Thursday February 16th to be exact. They were correct in saying that Mr. Hamid had stood with fellow protesters in Piccadilly Gardens on Armed Forces day last June (2011) holding a placard, but wrong in saying it featured an expletive; the placard had read "Bombing for Peace is like F*****g for Virginity" (censoring stars included).

The article stated that Mr. Hamid grappled with the police which is untrue. He wasn't given a reason for his arrest so he did resist arrest and was pushed, pulled and violently dragged, sustaining multiple injuries. The M.E.N. also stated that Mani was protesting against the war in Afghanistan which he refutes, he was merely making a philosophical statement.

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Maya Evans reflects on courts, money and human rights

The Judge Lord Justice Laws looked over his glasses, he was a no messing kind of guy with a habit of cutting to the chase immediately. “So this £50- £100 k figure, where did it come from? Is it the governments?”

The defence Lawyer for the Secretary of State Mr Grodzinski flicked through his papers to find the source. Indeed it was the government’s calculated annual expense for judicial reviews- cost was the main justification which the Ministry of Justice had used to cut legal aid for judicial review cases.

Justice Laws looked truly astounded, he had obviously followed the same path of logic we had: “But it’s peanuts!” he bluntly stated.

I had to put my head down as I struggled to keep a straight face and Grodzinski struggled for words, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

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Maya Evans has a case against her heard in her absence ...

It was back in November sometime when I discovered a phone message from someone at Charing Cross police events department asking me to return their call. Reluctant to spend money on a phone call which I didn’t really want to have, I called the number.

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