Case against anti-drone protestors collapses

4 December 2015 - 10:45am
Press release

All charges against 19 anti-drone protestors have been dropped, after the Crown Prosecution Service admitted there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

The 19 were arrested for protesting at UAV Engines Ltd, in Shenstone, Staffordshire, on 6 July 2015, one year after Israel's attacks on Gaza in 2014.

UAV Engines Ltd is wholly owned by Elbit Systems, an Israeli company manufacturing military drones used to attack Gaza.

Speaking after the charges against her were dropped, Hilary Smith, said:

“The Crown Prosecution Service has finally conceded they have no case. Taxpayers' money has been wasted on a police operation and prosecution, all based on a bogus injunction.

“We protested peacefully at a factory owned by this Israeli company involved in drone wars against Palestinians. It is Elbit who should be in the dock.”

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Militarism and Security Campaigner at War on Want, said:

“It would have been a scandal for people to have been made criminals for protesting the manufacture of weapons used in war crimes. This is a victory for the right to protest.

“As long as the UK continues its deadly arms trade with Israel, it remains complicit in crimes against the Palestinian people and the brutality of Israeli Apartheid. We will continue to fight for the rights of Palestinians.”

On 1 July, UAV Engines obtained an injunction to prevent any demonstration within 250 metres of the site entrance. On 27 October, the Birmingham High Court removed the injunction “ab initio”, with the Judge declaring that it “had never existed”, as the company had failed to disclose the history of peaceful protest at the site.

Ends

 

Notes to editors

For more information and to arrange interviews contact Ross Hemingway 07983 550 728

According to the United Nations, the war on Gaza in 2014 resulted in 2220 Palestinian deaths, including 551 children. http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/annual_humanitarian_overview_2014_english_final.pdf

The Hermes 450 drone is known as the “workhorse” of the Israeli Defense Forces. It is powered by a UEL 80-AR-1010 engine, a model manufactured by UEL, based at Shenstone, near Lichfield. UEL is wholly owned by Elbit Systems. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jan/09/armstrade-gaza

At the height of the Gaza war in 2014, 9 protestors occupied the roof of the Shenstone factory. The prosecution collapsed in February when the company refused to provide details of military export licences and investigations into its trade with Israel. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/outcry-as-cps-drops-trial-of-anti-drone-protesters-at-last-minute-10014839.html

Latest news

Canada trade deal threatens food safety

29 August 2016 - 3:00pm

EU-Canada trade deal CETA is a major threat to UK food safety, a new report published by War on Want and allies in Europe and Canada warns today.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a major trade deal negotiated in secret over five years between Canada and the European Union (EU).

Read more

Colombia: Peace accord signed

25 August 2016 - 12:45pm

The signing of the accord is an historic moment. The survivors of violence and human rights abuses, who have long been at the forefront of the struggle for peace and justice, know only too well that the prospect of peace in Colombia does not rest solely on a deal done between the rebel groups and the state. Many more people have a stake.

Read more

Join the conversation

Canada trade deal #CETA a major threat to UK #food safety, report warns https://t.co/MQolJV5IKm #NoTTIP #StopCETA https://t.co/UfbwjZNIae 14 hours 47 min ago
Fantastic piece on #ISDS 'corporate courts' by Buzz Feed's @ChrisDHamby https://t.co/7Ip7Ak294k #NoTTIP #TPP #CETA https://t.co/VvQbHz0Iep 18 hours 35 min ago
A new report published with allies working against #CETA - our food safety is at risk. #StopCETA #NoTTIP https://t.co/jHhNvfiEOn 20 hours 2 min ago