Defend the Stansted 15!

On 19 March 2018, the trial began of 15 anti-deportation activists from End Deportations, Plane Stupid, and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, who on 28 March 2017 prevented a charter flight to Nigeria from Stansted airport in Essex. On 24 March the trial was adjourned until further notice.
The 15 are charged with aggravated trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and 'obstructing or disrupting ... Stansted Airport' under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, brought in following the 1988 Lockerbie bombing ostensibly to target terrorist activity. The maximum sentence they could face if convicted is life imprisonment. Ironically, the British government's intention is to terrorise activists.

The 'Stansted 15' had chained themselves to a plane and each other for 10 hours and lain down and occupied an access road not used for commercial flights, to prevent 57 people, from Nigeria, Ghana and other parts of West Africa, from being deported. Some of those being deported had legal hearings and unheard appeals pending.

Their deportation, as well as being racist, was illegal. Deportations of homeless EU citizens and of African-Caribbean pensioners who have lived here for over 50 years, under ‘deport first, appeal later’ deportations, were recently ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. Thousands of people are deported on specially chartered flights each year to Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

A replacement flight took off from Stansted airport two nights after the flight blocked by the activists with 23 people on board. The 'Stansted 15' action temporarily saved 34 people and drew attention to the violence of charter flights and Britain's deportation regime. It was the first time a deportation flight has been grounded by people taking direct action against Britain's racist immigration system. 

There has been massive opposition to the prosecution of the Stansted 15, not just from direct action groups, but also from establishment figures such as Labour MP David Lammy, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, David Ramsbotham, the former chief inspector of prisons, Maxine Peake, the Shadow Home Secretary, and Vanessa Redgrave, who wrote to The Guardian condemning Britain as a ‘sordid, cruel, lawless country’.

The trial has been adjourned until further notice.

Drop the charges! Free the Stansted 15! Stop charter flights! No Deportations! 

The defendants are: Emma Hughes, Melanie Evans, May McKeith, Melanie Stickland, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Laura Clayston, Helen Brewer, Ruth Potts, Jyoysna Ram, Edward Thacker, Nicholas Sigsworth, Alistair Tamlit, Benjamine Metters, Nathan Clack and Joseph McGahan.