Stansted 15 protester: We have been found guilty using a 'draconian' law that should never have been used

Stansted 15 protester: We have been found guilty using a 'draconian' law that should never have been used

Monday, December 17, 2018

Jo Ram, one of the Stansted 15 protesters, has said that this “draconian” legislation “should never have been used against” them.

Ms Ram was one of a group dubbed the 'Stansted 15' who prevented a Home Office-chartered deportation plane from taking off by chaining themselves around the aircraft.

They have now been convicted of intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome, contrary to section 1 (2) (b) of the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, which can carry a life sentence.

She told talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes: “This is a draconian piece of legislation that was put into place to criminalise violent acts at an airport.

“It has been used for the first time against peaceful direct action.

“We have been found guilty of a charge that should never have actually been used against us.”

 

'We did not even touch the plane' 

Ms Ram described their protest as “peaceful”.

“We were in a remote part of the airport away from the passenger terminal. We were in what was effectively a parking bay,” she said.

“We did not go on the runway and we did not even touch the plane that we stopped.

“We very calmly and peacefully dressed in pink and high visibility walked onto a parking bay.”

She added: “The runway was only shut for one hour and we are deeply regretted that some people’s flights diverted.

“But, in reality we were there for ten hours and the airport operated as normal for nine hours.

“We were able to do what we needed to do, which was to prevent harm that was coming to those people on that plane – in a safe way with minimum disruption.”

 

'Deport first, appeal later' 

Ms Ram added that the group of 15 felt they had to intervene because the Home Office policy used to deport them was "illegal". 

“The Home Office had a policy in place called ‘Deport first, appeal later’, which the UK Supreme Court ruled was illegal," she said. 

“People had on-going cases and the Home Office had not followed due process.”

In June 2017, the government's system for deporting foreign criminals before they have had a chance to appeal breaches their human rights, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The so-called "deport first, appeal later" policy was introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014.