Det danske Fredsakademi

Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 5 december 2005 / Time Line December 5, 2005

Version 3.5

4. December 2005, 6. December 2005

Heavy Fines for Edinburgh "Submariners"
Today 10 anti-Trident activists were each fined a total of £300 for being the crew of a large model nuclear weapon submarine which blocked the street outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on March 10th.
The ten were accused under the Roads (Scotland) Act with placing an obstruction in the roadway without reasonable excuse and also of obstructing police officers who attempted to remove it. They made individual legal submissions but put forward a common defence. They argued that the reason for their action (the urgent need to bring the reality of the threat from an illegal nuclear weapon system to the Scottish Parliament) and the care and consideration with which they had acted, added up to a reasonable excuse. On the second charge they argued that it depended on the first and further, that it was inappropriate to bring two charges against them for the same action.
In her submission Sarah Whiteside said: "The advent of this nuclear age is a good example of a challenge to which the legal system must respond and in order for democracy and its mechanisms to function, there must be effective avenues for ordinary people to influence this response."
Sheriff Noel McPartlan rejected their defences to both charges, fining them £50 on the first and £250 on the second, claiming that the matter became more serious at the point when they refused to comply with police requirements to move. He conceded that the accused had acted in a civilised manner and had conducted themselves well in court.
The ten told the Sheriff that they would not pay the fines.
A supporter in court said:
"It is more than disappointing that we are still waiting for the penny to drop in the Scottish courts over Britain's weapons of mass destruction. The judges who deal with Trident related cases seem to have no real live conception of what a nuclear weapon is. Like so many before him Sheriff McPartlan has characterised as unreasonable those who do know and feel compelled to act. We are now considering what the next step will be in our effort to get the courts to respond to the Trident crime."
The ten protesters are: Sarah Whiteside (from Fife); Emma Bateman (Leicester); Brian Quail (Glasgow); Adam Conway (Southampton); Jane Smith (Grantown-on-Spey); Jane Tallents (Helensburgh): Angie Zelter (Norfolk); Rosie Kane (Glasgow); Peter Lux (Norwich); Janet Fenton (Edinburgh).
For background to the March 10th protest see

Den amerikanske borgerrettighedsgruppe Witness Against Torture: A campaign to shut down Guantanamo, grundlægges.
Witness Against Torture: March to Guantanamo
U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike
Take Action to Stop the Torture, Abuse & Illegal Detentions
Twenty-five U.S. Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker are setting out from Santiago, Cuba today (Dec. 6) on a solemn 50-mile march to Guantanamo Bay. They seek to ?defend human dignity? by visiting with the hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under horrific conditions by the U.S. government. The group plans to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a Catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of Catholic Worker Communities. They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a 'work of mercy' in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations, writes SOA Watch.


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