These 15 activists have now been put on trial in Chelmsford on terrorism-related charges. If convicted, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
Secret deportation flights take thousands of people from our communities every year. Parents, friends and neighbours are targeted on the basis of their perceived nationality and snatched to fill a flight that the Home Office has chartered. These flights enforce the structural racism of immigration controls. Violence and abuse from security contractors against these vulnerable people have been well documented.
We would like to make a declaration in support of the Stansted 15 and call for the end to the government’s hostile environment policy, noting that:
1) The Stansted 15 face unprecedented charges for their non violent action which exposed systematic unlawful deportations by the Home Office. In effect, the action intervened to prevent a kind of State terror as some of the people on the plane faced persecution and death if deported (there were asylum seekers and trafficking victims with ongoing claims to be forcibly deported that night)
2) 11 people due to be deported that night are still in the country with ongoing claims, as a direct consequence of the action’s of the Stansted 15. One person has since got leave to remain.
3) Charter flights are secret, brutal and are deporting people unlawfully.
4) People being deported are being snatched from their communities and families without due process.
5) The public would be horrified if they knew what is happening.
We stand in solidarity with these brave people and hope the jury will see that justice – in the only true sense of the word – is done. Otherwise the consequences for peaceful direct action in this country are are truly frightening.