Peter Gabriel: “Support for the ‘Stansted 15’”

Peter Gabriel has added his name to this letter of support for the ‘Stansted 15. READ the LETTER.

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Stansted 15 Solidarity Letter: 


We the undersigned express our deep concern and disagreement with the recent prosecutions at Chelmsford Crown Court against the fifteen human rights activists who acted to stop a brutal, secretive and barely legal deportation flight last year.


The ‘Stansted 15’ have been convicted of ‘endangering an aerodrome’ under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990 - a terrorism related law. The use of this draconian legislation is grossly disproportionate and a clear abuse of power.


Helen, Joe, Lyndsay, Ben, Mel, Nathan, Laura, Jo, Nick, Ali, Eddie, Emma, May, Ruth and Melanie chained themselves around a deportation charter flight bound for Nigeria and Ghana in March 2017 with the sincere belief that they were preventing the sixty people on board from coming to harm.


As a result of their ten hour blockade, eleven people - including victims of trafficking recognised under the Modern Slavery Act - are still here in the UK with their loved ones.


This group of ordinary people took extraordinary and peaceful action in the knowledge that they were saving lives. But now they face prison sentences.


It is the UK government’s brutal and unjust ‘hostile environment’ which should be found guilty of endangering human lives, and not the peaceful efforts of fifteen people to keep them safer.


The UK is the only country in Europe to lock up people with uncertain immigration status indefinitely. 3000 people are incarcerated in immigration prisons in the UK at any one time.


The UK is also one of the few to fill chartered planes with deportees when legal cases are still unresolved. Nearly half (47%) of all appeals to deportation decisions last year were successful [1] and 75% of Home Office appeals on immigration decisions are rejected. [2]


The Windrush scandal has shown us that the UK immigration system violates human rights. The Home Office constantly racially profiles; uses unfair targets; and victimises and expels people who have the right to live here.


We call on the UK government to end its inhumane hostile environment policies and to end its barely legal and shameful practice of deportation charter flights. We also call for the Stansted 15 to be spared prison. They did not aim to inconvenience people, and this arduous trial has had such a profound impact on the defendants’ lives that they are unlikely to take such action again.


The Stansted 15 are a credit to human rights. They and their intentions should be supported, not punished.




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Alan Rusbridger Former Editor, The Guardian
Neal Lawson Chair of Compass
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Ilyas Nagdee NUS Black Students Officer
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Roxane de Massol de Rebetz Leiden University
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Naaz Rashid University of Sussex
Dinah Mulholland Labour Party
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Ambra Venturini Amnesty International
Katy Sian University of York
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Callum Cant University of West London
Josh Cunliffe Birkbeck College, University of London
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Whit Doig my AFK
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Sarah Lasoye NUS National Women’s Officer
Ellie Medeiros Singer
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Juha Virtanen University of Kent
Matthias Kispert University of the Arts London
Sai Englert SOAS
Emma Harrison University of Sussex
Tim Allman Self
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Peter Mullan Actor
Phoebe Boswell Artist
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Natasha Lennard Author and investigative journalist
Hannah Maxwell Arts Producer
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Max Long Cambridge University
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Tom Harrington IWGB union activist
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Patricia McKeown Regional Secretary UNISON NI
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Lucky Khambule Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI)
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Dr June Edmunds Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Sussex
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