Stansted 15

The Stansted 15 are a group of concerned citizens who peacefully stopped a deportation flight to Nigeria and Ghana at Stansted airport on 28 March 2017.

They have now been convicted. The Stansted 15 expected to face retribution for their protest. They never expected to be found guilty of terrorism offences. But on Monday, the group became the first activists involved in a non-violent direct action protest to be convicted under laws that were formulated in response to the Lockerbie bombing.

The group had information of people meant to be on that flight, who would be put in extreme danger if they were forcibly returned. The group knew about their stories from the website Detained Voices. For example, a lesbian women feared persecution by the Nigerian authorities if returned to Nigeria, her abusive ex husband who she was made to marry had also told her he would kill her on return. Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world for LGBT people. The Stansted 15 also knew that the Home Office was not respecting rule of law, some of the people scheduled to be on the plane had ongoing claims and had not exhausted the legal process. The Stansted 15 were deeply concerned about the treatment of detained people during the deportation process as well.

Demonstration outside the Home Office [copyright Mick Holder]
– Charter flights (private, mass deportation flights chartered by the Home Office), like the plane stopped, are a particularly brutal, secretive and barely legal plank of the hostile environment policy as championed by Theresa May. People are racially targeted based on their perceived nationality, then ripped from their communities, friends and loved ones before they are forcibly deported. People are often deported before they can get access to a decent lawyer. Legal aid is available in limited cases and it’s very difficult to access even where it is available. People are seriously abused by guards involved in the deportation process. Being tranquillised, ‘dragged like a goat’ in a restraint belt, and racially abused, are all commonplace experiences. Charter flights take place in the middle of the night in a remote part of Stansted airport where the public cannot observe the dark deeds that are taking place. This offends common decency.

You can find a lot of information on the End Deportations website…

Facts:

– The Stansted 15 have been the targets of a political frame up. They have been charged with endangering safety at airports under terrorism-related legislation. They have ensured a 10 week trial so far. The Government is in fact guilty of the charge the State has levied against the Stansted 15 – the Government endangers people every day with their brutal, unfair hostile environment policies and particularly the barbaric practice of charter flights.

– Decent people must be united in their condemnation of charter flights and their solidarity with the Stansted 15. Peaceful dissent to defend our rights – and those of our migrant brothers and sisters – is noted never could be an act of terror. State terror must be identified, called out, and opposed.

– The action by the Stansted 15 has mean that 11 of the 60 people due to be deported that night are still in the UK with their friends and families. More details from the House of Commons website…