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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Harsh sentences for Gaza protesters


Further harsh sentences were doled out yesterday as more of those arrested at the Gaza demonstrations last year attended Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing. A total of fifty people are to be sentenced for taking part in violent disorder during the protests outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington last January. Previous sentencing has ranged between twelve months and two and a half years.

A further two defendants, both described as being of ‘exemplary character’ were yesterday sentenced to two years imprisonment. Another, for whom this was also a first offence, was sent down for 12 months. Four who had been under 18 at the time of the offence received detention orders ranging from 8 to 12 months. One was given a suspended sentence on grounds of mental illness, and two others were adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

The court was told how the defendants were fighting with police, although most of the allegations were of throwing or hitting out with flimsy placard sticks at riot police in full protective gear. A few of the defendants were also accused of ‘assisting’ others with picking up and throwing crowd control barriers that had been used by police to kettle protesters.. But there were no reports of any injuries sustained by anyone as a result of their actions. One man, a university student, got twelve months for throwing a single missile. His family sobbed in the gallery.

The court was not told about – nor seemed at all interested in - the context in which this violence happened. The court was not told about the police violence that was meted out on Gaza protesters during the numerous protests that took place in December and January last winter. How protesters were forced into pens, despite the crush that this caused. That protesters slow to move were pushed, shoved and sworn at, and those who objected, or who tried to move back barriers were hit with shields and batons.

Neither was the court interested in the political situation that was unfolding at the time. One of the defendants had recently visited part of his family in Gaza, a family including young children who were inevitably suffering under the brutal and unlawful military offensive that Israel had launched. It mattered not at all. He was sentenced to two years.

The Judge made it clear that the aim of these sentences was to act as a ‘deterrent to others’. It was not the behaviour of the individual that was important, he said, but the collective behaviour of the crowd.

These sentences cannot be seen as anything other than political, given the sustained effort and committment the state has put in to bringing so many people before the courts. The ‘deterrent’ effect intended is surely that of making Muslim communities fearful of taking to the streets again.
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32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes - these are political and yes the court was sending a message - it has never been other than this though. The state does not like / tolerate violent disorder or riot. It will always 'hammer' those it catches

Ron Broxted said...

12 months for chucking a rock? He should have killed a baby he'd be out in less time. Good news, post Marper if you are innocent and had DNA taken (illegally) not only will Plod have to wipe it but pay your compensation.

thelunaticarms said...

"Muslim communities fearful of taking to the streets again" - result then.

Honestly though, they should be happy, if they had done the same in Israel...

And before you all moan at me, I know bods who have been sent down for three years for throwing a punch at a footie riot. The powers that be hand out harsh sentences to try and deter further violent riots.

If people just get a slap on the wrist for violent disorder, what message does that send out?

By all means protest, but the moment you strike out at cops, of course the Law will come down hard.

No brainer really.

Stephen said...

Thanks Ron, you write:

"post Marper if you are innocent and had DNA taken (illegally) not only will Plod have to wipe it but pay your compensation."

Do you have any evidence for this?

Best Wishes,
Stephen

Ron Broxted said...

Yes I have. If I post it here Insp Truscott will find out but to give you a crumb of comfort in late January the ECHR forwarded nine test cases to the scum of the U.K govt. They now have until 23rd March to agree a "friendly settlement". One of the guys had up (it included a bit of the ol' torture in Sussex) is mega-annoyed. He wants a "lottery jackpot" settlement. I can't see it happening but if not he is prepared to go to untold lengths to get even. The stupid bastards fail to realise that he will push through a proviso if not paid. All deletion must be verifiable and transparent, independent of Plodscum. To the Finland station!

Really Fit said...

"the moment you strike out at cops the law will come down hard"

Yes. But courts do exercise a fair bit of variation.

According to the BBC, four men from the English defence league were jailed for "going on the rampage" during an EDL march in Luton. Asian businesses were attacked, as was a car containing three Asian men.

The sentences? They ranged from 16 - 28 weeks. That's weeks, not months.

Clearly the judge did not see the need to impose the same level of 'deterrent' sentences in that case.

thelunaticarms said...

"According to the BBC, four men from the English defence league were jailed for "going on the rampage" during an EDL march in Luton. Asian businesses were attacked, as was a car containing three Asian men."

Did they hit any cops?

We all know that as soon as you touch a copper you're going down for a long time. Another pal of mine got 18 months for resisting arrest. All due to the copper saying he had been hit.

Go figure.

PS: I hate the filth as much as the next man, I am Millwall after all and know first hand of the treatment dished out to certain groups.

But...

The day someone gets off lightly for striking a copper, is the day law and order won't mean piss. And I doubt you or your mates are capable of keeping the criminal class under control.

Anonymous said...

Lunztic Arms, you have a point about the footie - football fans also get hammered when they have a go at the cops.

Don't make it right though, does it?

Look, the cops were all in protectie gear, no-one got hurt. I even had a conversation with one of the TSG later, he said he'd had a great time, none of it bothered him, and after all, that was what they were paid for.

So why do we have to destroy lives in the name of 'deterrence'? If the only thing that stops us all rioting is the threat of long sentences, we really do live in a fucked up society.

Muscleguy said...

I agree, when Cherie Blair sitting as a judge gives a suspended sentence to a man who repeatedly punched another over a cash machine queue because it was a first offence and he was of good character, despite him pleading guilty to Actual Bodily Harm to jail similar people who the prosecution could not show harmed anyone is gross inconsistency in justice. Why the inconsistency? your answer is the only possible one: politics and to deter lawful protest.

mary said...

Is admission to the general public being allowed at Isleworth Crown Court? I would like to go to se what the f is going on but it would be a long journey for me. I was at some of these protests and would say that the only thuggery I saw was from the police in riot gear. The protesters were kettled.

Bilal said...

One of those who were sentenced (for throwing one single empty bottle) is Mosab Al-Ani, please send messages of solidarity to him, the contact details are as follows:

Mosab Al- Ani
Prison number GX - 7243
H.M.P. Woodworm Scrubs
P.O. Box 757 DuCane Road
London, W12 OAE

Make sure when you do send messages of solidarity to send the letter by special delivery made payable to 'governor'. Thanks for all your support

Really Fit said...

There is a public gallery, but it is small, and while there was room last Friday morning when cases were listed seperately, in the afternoon there were a number of cases heard together, and there wasn't room even for the friends and family of the defendants. There were upsetting scenes when friends and family couldn't get entry.

If that happens again next Friday (26th) when more sentencing takes place, those coming out of interest alone would not get entry to the court

Bilal said...

Sorry that was a typo, its HMP Wormwood Scrubs not Woodworm

Ron Broxted said...

Sal'aam I will do a blog on political prisoner Mosab. On "The Independent". That's right. Major. Oh, as to plod and resisting arrest. Wear the uniform, pay the price. New Scotland Yard delenda est.

Anonymous said...

Woodworm scrubs sounds more apt, somehow, though..

thelunaticarms said...

Crime and punishment in this country is a joke. Cherie Blair (Booth QC) is testament to that. Like a game of roulette, some people get let off scot-free, others are thrown to the wolves. Actually, I cannot remember the last time justice was actually done.

I do respect the right to protest but if we are all honest with ourselves, know that unless 50% of the population are protesting, the Government of the day will always brush it aside.

Even more so when it comes to the State of Israel due to the fact they have been on the defensive (and offensive) since the 50s. And when you have that many decades of resistance, the mindset can become set in stone, so to speak.

And I don't want to get into their right to exist or not, for if I'm honest, I'm more worried about Britain to be moaning about other nations problems.

Prime example of protest having no effect is South Africa's apartheid. Sure people made a noise but it ended due to boycotts, not the protesting. Okay, also had a little terrorism but I doubt in this 'War on Terror' that would help, in fact, I know that the powers that be would prefer it.

I really do understand where you;re coming from Anon 08:34, but again must stress, that the sentencing has always been a mixed affair, just take a look at the soft sentences for murder dished out. Also, if there was no deterrent to rioting, it'd be a weekly affair.

Protest by all means but if the coppers try to antagonise, be sure not to take the bait. You said yourself, they're in riot gear wanting it to kick off. Again, learned that from Millwall v Cardiff in the 90s and my head is still sore from the encounter.

As much as I disliked some of the stuff Ghandi did, I do think he had a point about non-violent protest. The moment we act like animals is the moment the Police have justification in 'controlling the situation' by force.

Again, I understand people's anguish at things and the need to voice that anger. The only consolation I can give you all is Prison is a piece of cake nowadays. Want proof just check out my new blog post on the new prison being built in England.

Plus, they have the right to appeal and should do so if they feel the sentence is too harsh (and of course if the Lawyers say there is a good chance of winning).

One of my mine gripes with protests these days is the sheer number of them and the variety of subjects they cover. Hard to keep track of them all.

Again, nuff respect to those that do but most times they seem to be counter-productive.

Best of luck to y'all. In fact, to all of us myself included, for whatever the future holds, you can be as sure as the nose on your face that the bastards that be have contingency plans for every eventuality.

jonsparta said...

As any copper will tell you, there is no such thing as a court of justice only a court of law.

And the law is an ass.

I have been assaulted several times during and after arresting someone and only one got a prison sentence (1 month).

Anonymous said...

You are arresting them, for Christ sake. You can hardly be surprised if they dont be good little boys and girls and go quietly to the cells.

It's what you are paid for, isn't that the line?

jonsparta said...

Oh sorry i must have missed that bit when studing the law. You have the right to assault police officers when you are being arrested! lol.

Does that go for members of the public that apprehend a criminal??

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well maybe you have more respect if you don't constantly winge because someone trod on your toe. Sick of seeing coppers trying to get people sent down for non-existent injuries.
Meanwhile you can taser, hit, pepper spray, arm lock, and even kill without any comeback. My heart bleeds.

jonsparta said...

I don’t known anyone that tries to get people done for 'sent down for non-existent injuries'. We are encouraged by our PSD and CPS not to crime assaults on police officers. For reasons they don’t tell us. We can only crime it if there is significant injuries, that not the same as pain...

Funny because if you were assaulted I would crime it and if possible made an arrest etc. What would happen if I didn’t crime it unless you got seriously hurt?

Meanwhile you can taser, hit, pepper spray, arm lock, and even kill without any comeback.. lol.

That is very funny. Tell it to the copper that got jailed for common assault whilst making an arrest. BTW the arrested male admitted assaulting the officer and didn’t make any complaint! Or the copper that got jailed for over use of his baton but it was thrown out by the appeal court. Reason, the person he was fighting with admitted attacking the officer and didn’t make a complaint, it was PSD that pursued it.

Also remember this we don’t normally crime assaults from third party information, we need a victim. This does not count if it’s a officer!

ps. if you heart is bleeding, see a doctor.

Really Fit said...

Really? I've been told by numerous solicitors that chucking in an 'assault PC' charge is almost routine, especially on minor charges, as it bumps up the possible sentence.

And I remember the trial of one Fitwatcher (not me) who was tried for assault PC, until the copper 'victim' admitted that the 'assault' consisted of a 'pull on his arm'. The defendant was acquitted.

In my experience, this isn't unusual. If you are being told, Jonsparta, that coppers shouldn't charge unless there is a significant injury, I can only suggest that

a) your force is completely different from any I have come across

b) they've got you on a wind-up

c) they only chuck in assault charges when they want to get one over nasty anarchos like us.

Which one is it?

jonsparta said...

CPS is often fond of throwing an assault PC in (they have targets too) but the court rarely convict. Of course I can only talk on myself and the officers around me but we rarely charge at station for it. This could be the fact that economics come into play. CPS is to lose half of its staff in my region and we as a division will lose 40% of our money. So in order to save money we can only charge after an ERO or DS give the go ahead. They must take into account the amount of money that could be spent, eg officers at court, further investigation etc. As historically all assault PC's went to court they have been targeted because of huge amount of money and time spent on them.

As for your story, under the law it is a common assault 'to pull at someone’s arm' but and I can hear you rattling at your key board already, common sense would dictate that it was a load of rubbish and that the officer should have known better. On the other hand, I have investigated a ton of assaults as stupid as your story.

But NCRS recording of crimes state that if the victim believes it to be an assault then it will be crimed as one. Stupid and a waste of money, yes. Do I do my best to get around it, yes. Have I got into trouble for it, yes. Because of the nasty government we have, common sense in all areas of policing is no longer allowed.

As for 'they only chuck in assault charges when they want to get one over nasty anarchos like us.'

Nope, even after I was kicked, punched, spat at etc, at various public order situations.

T56 said...

Jon Sparta, save you breath mate. The only way to get these guys to see what the 'bobby' is, is one on one in a pub with a pint! Run a few situations past them, let them know the constraints and possible outcome that positive or negative action wil lead to and I can guarentee you the most left of the left will fall on our side !

jonsparta said...

T56, i known what you mean. I understand that officer over step the mark and some break the law but the whole is not rotten.

If we are seeing more violence then i believe that society is getting more violent. They are many reasons for this but the police are a mirror for society. I like going out and catching criminals but what really gets me is the courts lack of any sense. Im sure i will get attacked on all of this but thats life...

Anonymous said...

Police injuries? - ha ha. Stop bleating you cops (Jonsparta and T56) and explain this.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/15/kingsnorth-climate-change-environment-police

Anonymous said...

The state is now on a fallback position to 'make an example' of protesters, after the cops were rightly criticised over the excessive force used at the G20, which only came to light after the video of Ian Thomlinson being beaten and pushed over,leading to his death at the hands of the police, who initially lied and denied all involvement.

The Gaza demo occurred before the G20 and the cowardly cops were meeting out beatings with faces masked and numerals hidden, just as they later did at G20.

Now the State is harshly punishing these protesters for the humiliation the police feel due to being found out at G20.

RIP Ian Thomlinson.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see some custodial sentencing! Has any one been watching 'generation jihad?'

Really Fit said...

11:23 - spot on.

spot on said...

first off Jonsparta none of the accused were charged with assaulting police.

next up watch the BBC report 'Uk police and courts out of control'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzGGoM4zHpI

apart from anything else, why did the police deny the use of EVIDENCE!

jonsparta said...

spot on...

Again no idea, im not a high ranking officers or CPS lawyer. The footage clearly show people throwing missiles at the police and holding various items to be used as weapons. I doubt they were holding them to tickle the officers. Anyone arrested should have been charged with serious disorder, instead of rioting. And the reason why the top offence of rioting was not used because only a very brave Chief does that. Because to admit there was a riot then the police are liable for all damage caused. The last offical riot was in Bradford. So for me no issues.

As for the evidence, not the policing call. All evidence is recorded in a MG6 and given to CPS, so take it up with them. Most people including reporters can understand its not the police that make that decision, just because newsnight says does not make it true....

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