From Andy Worthington: The Stansted 15 took direct action last year to prevent a charter flight from returning immigrants and asylum seekers to their home countries in Africa, where there was a real risk of their ill-treatment or death.
According to Rebecca Nathanson, “Originally charged with aggravated trespass — a charge they accept — the Stansted 15 have since additionally been charged with intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome. This charge falls under the ‘Endangering safety at aerodromes’ section of the UK’s Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, a law intended to fight terrorism. The potential lifetime sentence accompanying this charge, as well as the fact that the attorney general is required to approve its use on a case-by-case basis, makes clear its severity.”
Amnesty International fears the charge “may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights.”
A ruling is expected soon on the questions raised by the trial; as Nathanson puts it, “criminalizing nonviolent protest [and] the legality, and ethics, of deportation charter flights.” She adds, “The jury will decide on the former in a matter of days; the latter may remain open after the case reaches its close. Activists, however, see that debate as having a clear winner.”
As Ewa Jasiewicz explained, “Their action resulted in 11 people still being here in the UK with their friends and family. So it’s an act of human solidarity and defense and resistance to an increasingly brutal border regime.”
So much respect for these activists – a majority of whom are women ♥