Anti-deportation solidarity action success
- activist receives conditional discharge for XL airways action
This morning Mr D. Thompson was found guilty at Crawley magistrates court of aggravated trespass at the HQ of XL airways at Gatwick Airport. On 17th August he was part of a group who entered the offices to protest against a deportation flight to the Democratic Republic of Congo scheduled for 31st August 2007. Using a bicycle D-lock to lock himself in reception, he demanded to speak with management and discussed the human impact of their £1.5 million contract with the home office to deport children and adults. In September 2007 XL airways, under pressure from campaigners, publicly withdrew from all deportation flight contracts.
Finding Mr Thompson guilty, District Judge Ede sentenced him to a 12 month conditional discharge and awarded costs of £300 to the prosecution. In his summing up DJ Ede admitted that the actions were taken on a point of principle which he respected, but were ‘a step too far’.
‘It is dawn raids, breaking down the doors of families and deporting them to countries where they face imprisonment, torture and death, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, that is a step too far’, said Mr Thompson outside the court after sentencing. ‘I feel my actions went just far enough. I believe that everyone should take whatever action is within their abilities in the face of social and environmental injustices like deporting so-called ‘failed’ asylum seekers to a country destabilised by wars over resources. I would happily do what I did again – although I might wait for my conditional discharge to expire’.
Mr Thompson intends to try and match the £300 prosecution costs by raising at least £300 for Congo Support Project, a user-led group that supports and advocates for Congolese refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Donations can be made via email@example.com
Note for editors:
1. Further information on the situation faced by asylum seekers in receipt of deportation orders to the Democratic Republic of Congo can be obtained from the Congo Support Project: firstname.lastname@example.org