Saturday, April 16, 2016

Enquiry into policing at DSEI: Open letter to Julian Sturdy MP

Please write to your MP.  feel free to make use of the this letter - changing "I was" to "eight defendants were"? & "I lay down in front of a tank" to "they obstructed the highway"

Dear Mr Sturdy,

Yesterday (Friday 15 April) I was acquitted of wilful obstruction of the highway when I lay down in front of a tank being delivered to the DSEI (Defence Security and Equipment International) arms fair in London last September.

In dismissing the case District judge Angus Hamilton, sitting at Stratford magistrates court, said the defence had presented clear and credible evidence that illegal activity had been conducted at the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in previous years, and that police arresting the activists had failed to investigate to ensure it was not happening again.

Given this clear evidence it is essential that:
1.     There is a thorough investigation of illegality at the arms fair.  This should include both consideration of the sale of illegal equipment (such as torture equipment, cluster bombs and land mines – all of which have been found on sale at DSEI) and the sale of equipment for illegal purposes including war crimes, internal repression or external aggression.
2.     Those breaking the law are brought to justice.  These are some of the most serious crimes, as shown by their extraterritorial nature (ie they can be prosecuted in the UK regardless of where they occur).
3.     Proper enforcement of the law takes place at DSEI.  As the Mr Justice Hamilton says, and as the evidence clearly showed, the police, National Crime Agency and other authorities such as HMRC (responsible for export licenses) have not been showing proper diligence in enforcing these most important laws.
I am therefore asking you to write to the relevant ministers:
·        calling for a full investigation into illegality at the DSEI arms fair;
·        asking them to explain to the House of Commons exactly what monitoring activity has been undertaken, and how this will be improved in future;
·        demanding that they ensure that a greater priority is given to enforcing the law at DSEI, and prosecution of all offenders.

I look forward to a positive response from ministers on this most serious matter.
Best wishes


Tom Franklin
4 Frazer Court
YO30 5FH

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