Liberty Report: 15 Jul 2003
An investigation by human rights group Liberty into the policing of peace demonstrations at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, during the recent invasion of Iraq has revealed fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Download full 13 page Liberty report:
Liberty has found there was a clear policy of using anti-terrorism laws to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protest. At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl (her father is now seeking legal redress) and a coach load of demonstrators was ‘kidnapped’ by police (also the subject of a legal action).
The investigation has discovered that the combined cost of policing the protests against a possibly illegal war was in excess of £7m. The Gloucestershire constabulary spent £3.26m. The Ministry of Defence police £3.79m. Between 1 March and 30 April the number of people arrested at RAF Fairford was 61. Of these 27 were subsequently charged with public order (but not terrorist) offences. Not a single terrorist was detained.
Now a number of MPs, including Liberal home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes and Labour MPs David Drew, Lynn Jones and Neil Gerrard, are asking why the Home Secretary told Parliament that the Terrorism Act 2000 was not being used to prevent protests at Fairford despite evidence that dozens of protesters had been stopped and searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act. (See attachment)
Liberty is today calling for a House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs to investigate why powers under the Terrorism Act were used against peaceful protesters. In particular it would like to know the extent to which policing policies were dictated by Cabinet, the Home Secretary and the US armed forces.
Liberty is also giving its full support to the protesters currently seeking legal redress for the manner in which they were treated.
Interviews with Isabelle Ellis-Cockcroft, the 11-year-old served with an anti-terrorist order can be arranged through Liberty.
Can you spot the difference? July 2003
Libety PDF pamphlet: 3 personal accounts of British citizens protesting under Britain's terror laws
Liberty Terrorism Issues page
Fairford Coach Action
How 120+ People were "Coach-napped" on their way from London to Fairford (inc pics, video, audio and reports)