Thursday, 12 March 2009

Burglary charges dropped against peace activists

Just saw this - and thought I'd share it here. The peace activists facing criminal charges of trying to damage the war machine here in Brighton (that's the EDO-ITT factory in Moulsecomb, where bomb-release mechanisms have been made for the Israeli Air Force) have had charges of burglary dropped.

According to a report on the Peace News website, the nine activists who 'decommissioned' the EDO arms factory in Brighton in January, in protest against the supply of British arms to Israel and the assault on Gaza, are now facing the much vaguer charge of 'conspiracy to cause criminal damage' as well as the charge of criminal damage itself, following a court hearing on 16 February.

The charge of burglary was dropped against all nine. Because of this change, the three activists who were arrested outside the factory, and who caused none of the damage, are more likely to be convicted. In addition to the change in charges, the claimed value of the property damaged has risen to £300,000, up £50,000 from the initial estimate.

Two of the protestors remain in jail: Robert Alford in Lewes Prison and Elijah Smith in Bristol. Robert applied for bail, but was turned down. Elijah refused to apply for bail until Alford was released. Though the two men were originally held in Lewes Prison together, Elijah Smith was moved to Bristol earlier this month for 'security reasons'.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 8 May.

Here's more on the whole saga

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