Last Friday (4th July 2014) our friend and fellow DSEI 2013 arms fair blockader Dan Ashman represented himself in court against an obstruction of the highway charge.
The court heard how Dan had gone to the arms fair with the intention of upholding the law and establishing the area as a crime scene, and that the police, by facilitating the traffic of military equipment into the Excel centre where the arms fair takes place, were facilitating grave crimes, including crimes against peace. Dan’s action that day included standing in front of a coach that wanted to enter the arms fair.
PC Terry Powell, who gave evidence for the prosecution, admitted under Dan’s questioning that war crimes, torture and murder were, in fact, crimes. However, when asked about the crimes that had taken place at the DSEI fair during DSEI 2013 and previous DSEI arms fairs, the officer said that such matters were ‘political’ and only the Home Secretary or Prime Minister could order investigations about such matters. Incredibly, the PC Powell claimed to be unaware of the revelation in Parliament bu Caroline Lucas MP about illegal torture weapons being promoted at DSEI 2013, about this leading to two arms companies being thrown out of the fair, and our private criminal prosecution of these arms companies. Our lawyer has written to the CPS, Ministers and Police asking them to investigate this matter. It has been covered in the mainstream press and we had a considerable police presence during the first arms dealers on trial hearing in April. We have also submitted freedom of information requests to HMRC and the Metropolitan Police regarding their investigation (or complete lack thereof) of the arms companies, and are currently appealing the decision by HMRC to reveal nothing.
In his closing statement, Dan reiterated that he acted lawfully and in the best interests of people all over the world. He acted out of necessity to prevent serious harm to people. In seeking to uphold the law, the police arrested him, wrestled him to the ground and applied painful pressure techniques to nerves around his throat and neck. Criminal activities are supported by our government at this time, Dan said. Dan’s integrity and dignity came through in everything he said. Another prosecution witness, DC Knightley, even wanted to shake Dan’s hand and wish him well after the trial concluded.
The judge will make her decision on Tuesday 8th July at 2pm at Thames Magistrates’ Court, Bow Road. Supporters are encouraged to gather outside the court at 1.30pm. Supporters are encouraged to gather outside the court at 1.30pm
Note: Palestine groups, who are directly harmed by the arms deals that are done at DSEI, wrote an open letter of support for arms fair blockaders, which can be read here: http://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk/on-trial/open-letter-from-palestinian-groups/ – we are touched by their heartfelt support