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DSEi arrestees privately prosecute companies who exhibited torture weapons at arms conference (UK)

DSEi is the largest arms fair in the world, held at the Excel centre in Docklands, London. 325 usually does not print UK social activist news, such as legal challenges to the status quo. However, due to the NATO conference in Wales this year, and the diversity of tactics guildline, we have decided to print selected news relating to anti-arms trade and anti-militarism topics for the duration, or until we see fit to cease. We respect the aim of the DSEi arrestees who “see this litigation as part of a wider strategy to discredit, and then shut down DSEi for good”.

We need your help to put the arms dealers on trial. We are a group of women seeking to privately prosecute the arms dealers who sold illegal torture weapons at DSEi arms fair last year. You can learn more about our case and sign up for updates on our website: http://armsdealersontrial.wordpress.com/

If you would like to get involved and support our struggle, there are a number of things you could do:

1) Donate!
Whilst the lawyers have so far volunteered a considerable amount of free work, in order to progress this case fully we need to raise legal funds. Perhaps your group might be interested in throwing a benefit for us or passing around a collection? The more funds we can raise the further we can take this case.

2) Spread the word
You can follow our case via our website. If you use Twitter you can follow updates at @dseiprosecution and our Facebook page is at https://m.facebook.com/dseiprosecution?_rdr it would be really helpful if you could like and share it. Perhaps you would like to blog about the case or write a letter about it to the newspapers with your reflections?

3) Come to our benefit gig!
We have been offered a free venue in London and more details will be announced here.

4) Join us in court!
The first hearing will be on 24th April 2014 at Thames Magistrates Court in London. Representatives for the arms companies are required to attend. We will be outside the court from 9am with banners. It would be lovely if
you could attend. The hearing should be public in which case you will be able to sit and watch from the public gallery if you would like to join us.

5) Next year DSEi intend to put on another arms fair. Let’s stop them.
Stay updated on plans to stop the 2015 DSEi arms fair at
www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

Thanks so much in advance for any support you are able to offer. For details of how to make a donation, for press enquiries or for any other reason (and your messages of support are very welcome!), contact:
dseiprosecution@riseup.net

BACKGROUND TO THE CASE

In September 2013 a group of us (almost all women) were arrested for seeking to disrupt the setting up of DSEi (‘Defence Security Equipment International’) the world’s largest arms fair, held every two years in London. We blocked entrances to the venue by locking on together with arm tubes, by blockading a lorry and by holding space on the road with our bodies. We were charged with various obstruction offences.

The DSEi arms fair has consistently been found to have broken UK law by exhibiting illegal weapons at every event since 2005, yet exhibitors and organisers have never been subject to prosecution. Following our arrests Caroline Lucas MP identified that two companies – Tianjin MyWay International and Magforce International – had illegally exhibited torture weapons at DSEi. These included weighted fetters, electronic stun guns and stun batons.

Our trial groups demanded disclosure of information as to if and why the state did not investigate illegal torture weapons at DSEi. In the face of these continual requests, the cases against us were dropped a week before trial. We have now commenced proceedings to privately prosecute the arms dealers Tianjin Myway and Magforce International. We are clear that we do not want a “better run” arms fair – rather, we see this litigation as part of a wider strategy to discredit, and then shut down DSEi for good.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2014 at 8:39 pm and is filed under Social Control.