28 February 2013 | International Solidarity Movement and Corporate Watch, London, Complicit Britain
Two British peace activists have been detained in recent weeks after arriving home from the West Bank, occupied Palestine. They have been detained and taken in for questioning, over suspected links with the International Solidarity Movement.
“We are concerned about the British police using anti-terrorist legislation to target non-violent pro-Palestinian activists. We are a transparent group, trying to uphold the principles of international law; even inside Israel the International Solidarity Movement is not considered illegal. We would encourage the British Police to ask any questions they wish to do so, directly, and not by detaining affiliated activists at the airport”
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the two activists have been held on, allows the police, under certain specified circumstances, to arrest individuals without a warrant who are reasonably suspected of being terrorists. These laws are draconian measures which give the British police powers to detain suspects for up to 28 days without charge.
Schedule 7 is clearly being used as a tool to find out more about activists involved in a wide variety of types of political dissent and to provide profiles of activists for the police to use in trying to undermine political movements. None of the questions about movements in the UK were designed to root out terrorism or uncover the preparation for terrorism. In fact, the movements concerned have never even been accused of terrorism (with the exception of completely false accusations made against the ISM, see here).
Britain abstained at the last vote at the United Nations deciding whether Palestine should be accepted as a non-member observer state. But in the last two weeks the double standards of the British government in relation to Palestine and Israel have again been laid bare; Saeed Amireh, has been refused a visa to visit the UK. Amireh is a peaceful campaigner against Israel’s occupation and the theft of Nilin’s land. He was told he hadn’t provided “enough supporting documents”, even though he had supplied everything that was asked for, including a letter of invitation and guarantee from the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign of his costs being paid.
The use of these powers as a way to clamp down on non violent activists from Palestine and Britain is not acceptable, what is the British government afraid of? Maybe the fact the activists, returning home from Palestine, work with Corporate Watch and have helped reveal the continued supply of weaponry from Britain to the Israeli army has made them a target. This is despite the current British arms export policy stating it won’t deliver weapons to any countries breaking UN treaties. British companies are still complicit in Israeli war crimes in Gaza, as was proved in the EDO Decommisioners case of 2010.
Read more about the misuse of these powers and much more at corporateoccupation.org