• 15 personnes poursuivies pour avoir tenté d’empêcher le décollage d’un charter de 57 expulsés (Ghana et Nigeria) en se couchant sur le tarmac (voir End Deportation latest newsletter : https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=ae35278d38818677379a2546a&id=6be6b043c3)
    –-> reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop par Claire Rodier.

    #Stansted_15 : Amnesty to observe trial amid concerns for anti-deportation activists

    Amnesty considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “#Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case.

    “Public protest and non-violent direct action can often be a key means of defending human rights, particularly when victims have no way to make their voices heard and have been denied access to justice.

    “Human rights defenders are currently coming under attack in many countries around the world, with those in power doing all they can to discourage people from taking injustice personally. The UK must not go down that path.”

    https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/stansted-15-amnesty-observe-trial-amid-concerns-anti-deportation-activis

    #avion #déportation #renvois #expulsions #UK #Angleterre #résistance #procès #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières

    • The Stansted protesters saved me from wrongful deportation. They are heroes

      The ‘Stansted 15’ face jail for stopping my flight from taking off. They helped me see justice – and the birth of my daughter

      I’ll never forget the moment I found out that a group of people had blocked a charter deportation flight leaving Stansted airport on 28 March 2017, because I was one of the people that had a seat on the plane and was about to be removed from Britain against my will. While most of those sitting with me were whooping with joy when they heard the news, I was angry. After months in detention, the thought of facing even just one more day in that purgatory filled me with terror. And, crucially, I had no idea then of what I know now: that the actions of those activists, who became known as the Stansted 15, would help me see justice, and save my life in Britain.
      Stansted 15 convictions a ‘crushing blow for human rights in UK’
      Read more

      I first arrived in Britain in 2004 and, like so many people who come here from abroad, built a life here. As I sat in that plane in Stansted last year I was set to be taken “back” to a country that I had no links to. Indeed there is no doubt in my mind that had I been deported I would have been destitute and homeless in Nigeria – I was terrified.

      Imagine it. You’ve lived somewhere for 13 years. Your mum, suffering with mobility issues, lives there. Your partner lives there. Two of your children already live there, and the memory of your first-born, who died at just seven years old, resides there too. Your next child is about to be born there. That was my situation as we waited on the asphalt – imagining my daughter being born in a country where I’d built a life, while I was exiled to Nigeria and destined to meeting my newborn for the first time through a screen on a phone.

      My story was harsh, but it’s no anomaly. Like many people facing deportation from the United Kingdom, my experience with the immigration authorities had lasted many years – and for the last seven years of living here I had been in a constant state of mental detention. A cycle of Home Office appeals and its refusal to accept my claims or make a fair decision based on the facts of my case saw me in and out of detention and permanently waiting for my status to be settled. Though the threat of deportation haunted me, it was the utter instability and racial discrimination that made me feel like I was going mad. That’s why the actions of the Stansted 15 first caused me to be angry. I simply didn’t believe that their actions would be anything more than a postponement of further pain.

      My view isn’t just shaped by my own experience. My life in Britain has seen me rub along with countless people who find themselves the victims of the government’s “hostile environment” for migrants and families who aren’t white. Migration and deportation targets suck humanity from a system whose currency is the lives of people who happen to be born outside the UK. Such is the determination to look “tough” on the issue that people are rounded up in the night and put on to brutal, secretive and barely legal charter flights. Most take off away from the public eye – 60 human beings shackled and violently restrained on each flight, with barely a thought about the life they are dragged away from, nor the one they face upon arrival.
      Stansted 15 activists vow to overcome ‘dark, dark day for the right to protest’
      Read more

      I was one of the lucky few. My removal from the plane gave me two life-changing gifts. The first was a chance to appeal to the authorities over my deportation – a case that I won on two separate occasions, following a Home Office counter-appeal. But more importantly the brave actions of the Stansted 15 gave me something even more special: the chance to be by my partner’s side as she gave birth to our daughter, and to be there for them as they both needed extensive treatment after a complicated and premature birth. Without the Stansted 15 I wouldn’t have been playing football with my three-year-old in the park this week. It’s that simple. We now have a chance to live together as a family in Britain – and that is thanks to the people who lay down in front of the plane.

      On Monday the Stansted 15 were found guilty of breaching a barely used terror law. Though the jury were convinced that their actions breached this legislation, there’s no doubt in my mind that these 15 brave people are heroes, not criminals. For me a crime is doing something that is evil, shameful or just wrong – and it’s clear that it is the actions of the Home Office that tick all of these boxes; the Stansted 15 were trying to stop the real crime being committed. As the Stansted 15 face their own purgatory – awaiting sentences in the following weeks – I will be praying that they are shown leniency. Without their actions I would have missed my daughter’s birth, and faced the utter injustice of being deported from this country without having my (now successful) appeal heard. My message to them today is to fight on. Your cause is just, and history will absolve you of the guilt that the system has marked you with.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/10/stansted-15-protesters-deportation

    • Regno Unito, quindici attivisti rischiano l’ergastolo per aver bloccato la deportazione di migranti

      La criminalizzazione della solidarietà non riguarda solo l’Italia, con la martellante campagna contro le Ong che salvano vite nel Mediterraneo. In Francia sette attivisti rischiano 10 anni di carcere e 750mila euro di multa per “associazione a delinquere finalizzata all’immigrazione clandestina”. Nel Regno Unito altri quindici rischiano addirittura l’ergastolo per aver bloccato nella notte del 28 marzo 2017 nell’aeroporto di Stansted la deportazione di un gruppo di migranti caricati in segreto su un aereo diretto in Nigeria.

      Attivisti appartenenti ai gruppi End Deportations, Plane Stupid e Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants hanno circondato l’aereo, impedendone il decollo. Come risultato della loro azione undici persone sono rimaste nel Regno Unito mentre la loro domanda di asilo veniva esaminata e due hanno potuto restare nel paese. Nonostante il carattere nonviolento dell’azione, il gruppo che ha bloccato l’aereo è finito sotto processo con accuse basate sulla legge anti-terrorismo e se giudicato colpevole rischia addirittura l’ergastolo. Il verdetto è atteso la settimana prossima.

      Membri dei movimenti pacifisti, antirazzisti e ambientalisti si sono uniti per protestare contro l’iniquità delle accuse. Amnesty International ha espresso la preoccupazione che siano state formulate per scoraggiare altri attivisti dall’intraprendere azioni dirette nonviolente in difesa dei diritti umani. Il vescovo di Chelmsford, la cittadina dove si tiene il processo, si è presentato in tribunale per esprimere il suo appoggio agli imputati. La primavera scorsa oltre 50 personalità, tra cui la leader dei Verdi Caroline Lucas, la scrittrice e giornalista Naomi Klein, il regista Ken Loach e l’attrice Emma Thompson hanno firmato una lettera in cui chiedono il ritiro delle accuse contro i “Quindici di Stansted” e la fine dei voli segreti di deportazione.

      Nel Regno Unito questa pratica è iniziata nel 2001. Molte delle persone deportate hanno vissuto per anni nel paese; vengono portate via dai posti di lavoro, in strada o dalle loro case, rinchiuse in centri di detenzione, caricate in segreto su voli charter notturni e inviate in paesi che spesso non conoscono e dove rischiano persecuzioni e morte. Alcuni non vengono preavvisati in tempo per ricorrere in appello contro la deportazione. “Il nostro è stato un atto di solidarietà umana, di difesa e resistenza contro un regime sempre più brutale” ha dichiarato un’attivista.


      https://www.pressenza.com/it/2018/12/regno-unito-quindici-attivisti-rischiano-lergastolo-per-aver-bloccato-la-
      #UK #Angleterre #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #criminalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #expulsions

    • Activists convicted of terrorism offence for blocking Stansted deportation flight

      Fifteen activists who blocked the takeoff of an immigration removal charter flight have been convicted of endangering the safety of Stansted airport, a terrorism offence for which they could be jailed for life.

      After nearly three days of deliberations, following a nine-week trial, a jury at Chelmsford crown court found the defendants guilty of intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, a law passed in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

      The court had heard how members of the campaign group End Deportations used lock-on devices to secure themselves around a Titan Airways Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office, as the aircraft waited on the asphalt at the airport in Essex to remove undocumented immigrants to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

      The prosecution argued that their actions, which led to a temporary shutdown of Stansted, had posed a grave risk to the safety of the airport and its passengers.

      The verdict came after the judge Christopher Morgan told the jury to disregard all evidence put forward by the defendants to support the defence that they acted to stop human rights abuses, instructing jurors to only consider whether there was a “real and material” risk to the airport.

      In legal arguments made without the jury present, which can now be reported, defence barristers had called for the jury to be discharged after Morgan gave a summing up which they said amounted to a direction to convict. The judge had suggested the defendants’ entry to a restricted area could be considered inherently risky.

      Human rights organisations and observers had already expressed concerns over the choice of charge, which Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, likened to “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Responding to the verdict on Monday, Gracie Bradley, policy and campaigns manager at Liberty, called the verdict a “grave injustice” and a “malicious attack” on the right to peaceful protest.

      Dr Graeme Hayes, reader in political sociology at Aston University, was one of a team of academics who observed the trial throughout. The only previous use of the 1990 law he and colleagues were able to find was in 2002 when a pilot was jailed for three years after flying his helicopter straight at a control tower.

      “This is a law that’s been brought in concerning international terrorism,” he said. “But for the last 10 weeks [of the trial], we’ve heard what amounts to an extended discussion of health and safety, in which the prosecution has not said at any point what the consequences of their actions might have been.”

      In a statement released by End Deportations after the verdict, the defendants said: “We are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm. The real crime is the government’s cowardly, inhumane and barely legal deportation flights and the unprecedented use of terror law to crack down on peaceful protest.

      The protest took place on the night of 28 March 2017. The activists cut a hole in the airport’s perimeter fence, the court heard. Jurors were shown footage from CCTV cameras and a police helicopter of four protesters arranging themselves around the front landing gear of the aircraft and locking their arms together inside double-layered pipes filled with expanding foam.

      Further back, a second group of protesters erected a two-metre tripod from scaffolding poles behind the engine on the left wing on which one of them perched while others locked themselves to the base to prevent it from being moved, the videos showed. In the moments before police arrived, they were able to display their banners, one of which said: “No one is illegal.”

      Helen Brewer, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Nathan Clack, Laura Clayson, Mel Evans, Joseph McGahan, Benjamin Smoke, Jyotsna Ram, Nicholas Sigsworth, Alistair Temlit, Edward Thacker, Emma Hughes, May McKeith, Ruth Potts and Melanie Stickland, aged 27 to 44, had all pleaded not guilty.

      They will be sentenced at a later date.


      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/10/activists-convicted-of-terror-offence-for-blocking-stansted-deportation

    • Stansted 15: no jail for activists convicted of terror-related offences

      Judge says group ‘didn’t have a grievous intent as some may who commit this type of crime’.

      Fifteen activists convicted of a terrorism-related offence for chaining themselves around an immigration removal flight at Stansted airport have received suspended sentences or community orders.

      The judge decided not to imprison them after he accepted they were motivated by “genuine reasons”.

      Amid an outcry over what human rights defenders branded a heavy-handed prosecution, the group, who have become known as the Stansted 15, were convicted last December of endangering the safety of an aerodrome.

      They had broken into Stansted airport’s “airside” area in March 2017 and chained themselves together around a Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office to deport 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. After a 10-week trial a jury found them guilty of the charge – an offence that carries a potential life sentence.
      We in the Stansted 15 have been treated like terrorists
      Emma Hughes
      Read more

      At Chelmsford crown court on Wednesday, Judge Christopher Morgan QC, dismissed submissions in mitigation that the group should receive conditional discharges for the direct action protest, which briefly paralysed the airport, saying they did not reflect the danger that had been presented by their actions.

      He said such action would “ordinarily result in custodial sentences”, but that they “didn’t have a grievous intent as some may do who commit this type of crime”. The mood in the court had lightened considerably at the start of the hearing when Morgan said that he did not consider the culpability of any of the defendants passed the threshold of an immediate custodial sentence.

      The heaviest sentences were reserved for three of the group who had been previously convicted of aggravated trespass at Heathrow airport in 2016.

      Alistair Tamlit and Edward Thacker were sentenced on Wednesday to nine months in jail suspended for 18 months, along with 250 hours of unpaid work. Melanie Strickland was sentenced to nine months suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours of unpaid work.

      Benjamin Smoke, Helen Brewer, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Nathan Clack, Laura Clayson, Mel Evans, Joseph McGahan, Jyotsna Ram, Nicholas Sigsworth, Emma Hughes and Ruth Potts were each given 12-month community orders with 100 hours of unpaid work, while May McKeith received a 12-month community order with 20 days of rehabilitation.

      In mitigation, Dexter Dias QC said it should be taken into account that all acted to try to help individuals they perceived to be in danger. “The reason they wanted to prevent [the flight’s] departure is that they believed the welfare and safety of some of the people on that flight was at risk,” he said.
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
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      “In those circumstances the court historically in this country have considered that conscientious motivations offer quite significant mitigation.”

      Dias pointed out that 11 of those who had been due to be deported to west Africa that night remain in the country, including two of whom there were reasons to believe were victims of human trafficking, and two who were subsequently found to have been victims of human trafficking. “One of them had been raped and forced into sex work in several European cities,” he said.

      Kirsty Brimelow QC, who appeared to have been specially recruited for the mitigation after not acting for any defendant during the trial, told Morgan he must balance the defendants’ rights to protest and free association against the harm their actions caused the airport.

      Brimelow last year acted for three fracking protesters whose sentences were overturned by the court of appeal as “manifestly excessive”. She continually referred to that case as she told Morgan that he must consider the “proportionality” of the sentences.

      The defendants emerged from the court to a rousing reception from hundreds of supporters who had spent the day protesting outside. Tamlit said he was “relieved that’s over”.

      “It’s been a gruelling process,” he said. “The flight that went this morning [to Jamaica] put things in perspective. We might have been in jail tonight but people could have visited us and we would have eventually been released.

      “Not going to jail is a partial victory but we are going to keep campaigning to end charter flights, immigration detention and the hostile environment.”

      McKeith’s mother, Ag, said she was pleased at the relatively lenient sentence. But, she said she felt they ought not to have been convicted at all. “Despite the judge’s stern account, it’s simply not true that they endangered anybody at the airport,” she said. “The only people who were in danger were the people on the plane. I watched the trial all the way through and watched the prosecution trying to spin straw into gold, and they didn’t convince me.”

      Graeme Hayes, reader in political sociology at Aston University, who observed the entire trial, said: “Although the defendants have not got the custodial sentence, the bringing of a terrorism-related charge against non-violent protesters is a very worrying phenomenon. It’s so far the only case [of its type] in the UK, and points to a chilling of legitimate public dissent.”

      The defendants have already filed an appeal against their convictions. Raj Chada, of Hodge, Jones & Allen, represented most of them. “We will be studying the judgment carefully to review whether there are any issues that need to be brought up in the appeal,” he said.

      “It’s striking that nowhere was there any endangerment of individuals identified.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/feb/06/stansted-15-rights-campaigners-urge-judge-to-show-leniency?CMP=Share_An