UK: Palestine activists face prison over Elbit protest

Five face up to six months each in jail after protest outside factory owned by subsidiary of Israeli drone maker Elbit.

by
    The Palestine activists face up to six months in prison [Courtesy: Palestine Action]
    The Palestine activists face up to six months in prison [Courtesy: Palestine Action]

    A group of Palestinian activists in the UK could be imprisoned after a protest outside a factory owned by a subsidiary of Israeli drone manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

    Five protesters were arrested in July after the demonstration in the West Midlands town of Shenstone and later charged with a breach of the Trade Union and Labour Relations.

    Operations at the UAV Engines Ltd plant were shut down for two days starting July 6 with protesters laying out mock coffins outside the factory and lying on the ground outside its gates.

    The specific offence the activists are accused of carries a sentence of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to 5,000 British pounds ($6,410).

    A court hearing on Friday was adjourned pending a review of the charge by prosecutors with the possibility that the current charge may be dropped and a new one added.

    Not guilty plea

    The Birmingham and Manchester branches of Palestine Action, which helped organise the protest said those accused would be pleading not guilty.

    "They [protesters] believe that the factory is complicit in illegal activity and that they were preventing a crime," the group said in a statement.

    Defence lawyer Mike Schwarz said: "An issue at trial is likely to be the lawfulness of [Elbit and UAV Engine's] activity in its factory."

    A spokesperson for Elbit said the company would not comment on the issue.

    Based in the city of Haifa, Elbit produces military and civilian-use equipment, including drones, aircraft, weapon control systems, and artillery.

    The company's customers include the Israeli army, US Air Force, and the British Royal Air Force.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.