Deportation flight protest: 'Stansted 15' win appeal

The "Stansted 15" were prosecuted under counter-terror legislation for blocking the takeoff of an immigration removal flight. After more than four years of proceedings they won the appeal trial on 29.01.21 and their convictions were quashed.

The 15 activists had prevented the departure of a Boeing chartered by the British Home Office through a non-violent blockade on a private runway at London Stansted Airport in March 2017.

They were charged under a 1990 anti-terrorism law that can carry life imprisonment. It was the very first time that law was used against non-violent protesters.

A 9-week trial followed in spring 2019, in which all 15 were found guilty. Three of them were given suspended prison sentences and the remaining 12 were sentenced to community service.

More than two years later, on 29 January 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled the sentences null and void. All 15 were acquitted.

The activists expressed relief at the end of a four-year court battle. "It was frightening," said one of the activists. "But all along, despite the draconian charge, we knew that our actions were justified. We've never doubted that the people on that plane should never have been treated that way by our government.

In this Guardian article one of the people, whose deportation was stopped by the Stansted15, tells her story: "The Stansted protesters saved me from wrongful deportation. They are heroes".

© Foto Isaac Struna, Unsplash

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Samstag, 30. Januar 2021