Freed Voices are a group of experts-by-experience committed to speaking out about the realities of immigration detention in the UK. Between them, they have lost over 20 years to detention in this country.
They have released this statement of the Stansted 15, a group of people who last year grounded a deportation charter flight for ten hours to prevent it taking off. The individuals responsible for this non-violent direct action have been charged with terrrorism-related offences that could result in life imprisonment, and are currently on trial.
“Freed Voices stand in solidarity with the 15 brave individuals who are facing trial for taking part in a peaceful protest and stopping a charter flight at Stansted airport on 29 March 2017. Freed Voices members believe that the decision to charge these individuals with terrorism charges is grotesquely disproportionate. The UK’s charter flights practice is a secretive human rights violation. Removing human beings to other countries against their will using charter flights is inhumane and cruel. It is well known that charter flights employ a disproportionate amount of force. Mistreatment by Home Office sub-contracted private security staff is commonplace, and returnees are often strapped, chained and treated worse than cargo. Therefore, we disagree with the decision to charge these individuals under such harsh laws and believe that this could result in a situation where the criminal justice system is being used to discourage activists and human rights defenders. We as Freed Voices convey this message to show our solidarity with these 15 brave individuals and request that the harsh charges against them be dropped.”
Listen to a member of Freed Voices read their statement here:
On Monday 5th November, there will be a demonstration outside of the court. It is intended as a dignified vigil, and so they ask for no chanting or amplified music to best support the defendants and the cause. Banners and placards are very welcome.
8:30, MONDAY 5th NOVEMBER*WHERE*
Chelmsford Crown Court,
New Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1EL*TRANSPORT*
If attending from London, trains run from Liverpool St Station and take approx 35 mins. There are trains at 07.36, 07.46 and 08.00. The court is 5 mins walk from Chelmsford train station.
There is now have a coach leaving from London Liverpool Street to the demo at 0645.
More info here.
And book a place here.
Your solidarity is also welcome all day on Twitter @EDeportations and on FB.