To date, no campaigner has been successfully prosecuted and Ahava has consistently refused to cooperate with the prosecuting authorities.
On the first day of trial, prosecutors dropped aggravated trespass charges. This would have required the prosecution to demonstrate Ahava was engaged in lawful activity. Significantly, the CPS decided that this was not something they would attempt to prove.
The primary witness for the prosecution, Ahava’s store manager, refused to attend court to testify despite courts summons and threats of an arrest warrant leading to the activist’s acquittal on all remaining charges.
Ms Crouch, one of the four acquitted today said: “This is a small victory in the wider campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. We’ll continue to challenge corporate complicity in the occupation and Israel’s impunity on the international stage.”
Mr Matthews, another acquitted campaigner, added: “The message is clear. If your company is involved in apartheid and war crimes and occupying Palestinian land, people will occupy your shop.”
The British government, the European Union, the United Nations and the International Court of Justice all consider Israel’s settlements to be illegal, as they are in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention are also criminal offences under UK law (International Criminal Court Act 2001).