Stansted 15: British Activists Who Stopped Deportation Charter Flight Convicted of Terrorism Charge
England, Charlotte; Perkin, Bethhttp://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article47136
Publisher: Europe Solidaires Sans Frontieres
Date Written: 10/12/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23155
A look at a group of fifteen activists who prevented a deportation charter flight from leaving Stansted airport in the UK by securing themselves around the aeroplane, and were subsequently found guilty of a terrorist offence.
The activists, from campaign group End Deportations, were originally charged with criminal damage and aggravated trespass after the action on 28 March 2017, offences too small to warrant trial by jury and carrying a maximum of just three months in prison. The prosecution later sought special permission to add an additional charge of "endangering safety at an aerodrome", a terrorism offence created in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people died.
They stood accused of putting the safety of the airport and passengers at risk and causing serious disruption to international air travel for taking part in the non-violent direct action, in a move Amnesty International described as "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut". The human rights organisation, which observed the trial for its duration, was concerned that the severe and unprecedented charge may have been brought in order to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights.