Monthly Archives: March 2014

Anti militarists launch private prosecution against arms companies

Anti-militarist campaigners have launched a private prosecution of two arms companies. A statement by the activists lawyers reads:

“Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors today confirmed that they have obtained a summons against two international arms companies – TIAJIN MYWAY INTERNATIOANL TRADING COMPANY and MAGFORCE INTERNATIONAL for promoting unlawful weapons at the DSEi Arms Fair in the Excel Centre in September 2013.

Evidence that both companies had promoted unlawful weapons emerged during the arms fair itself. This lead to companies being ejected from the fair and the relevant material being passed to authorities.1

HJA had written to the DPP, CPS, Revenue and Customs, the Met police, Vince Cable and the Attorney General2 to enquire about an investigation by the State and make representation that action should be taken against the companies – to date no substantive response has been received.

The arms companies were promoting stun guns/stun batons and leg restraints – all of which are classified as “Category A items” under the Export Order Act 2008 and should not have been promoted in the arms fair.”

The two activists had previously been on trial for public order offences during the protests against the 2013 DSEi arms fair. Their charges were dropped after they argued that their actions were justified due to the illegal activities of companies at the fair. A statement from the activists reads:

“Following repeated attempts by our lawyers at disclosure regarding the nature and extent of the authorities’ investigation into breaches of law at the arms fair, most of our trial group’s criminal prosecutions were dropped. This week, we commenced our own private prosecution proceedings against the arms dealers.

We want to make clear that we are not merely opposed to ‘illegal’ weapons at the arms fair, we are against the arms fair full stop and everything it represents: the corruption, the human misery, and the profiteering by a narrow elite at the expense of people and planet. We see this private prosecution as a further step towards meeting our objective of discrediting and then stopping the DSEI arms fair for good.

Please support us in this campaign and spread this message.”

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‘I can’t give you information about your health, it’s a security matter’: Life for a sick Palestinian prisoner in the Israeli prison complex

International action has been called for in solidarity with prisoners held in Israeli jails. Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles which will be released over the coming months focusing on companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS).

Israeli surveillance technology overlooks Palestinian farmland in Beit Hanoun- Picture taken by Corporate Watch, November 2013

Israeli surveillance technology overlooks Palestinian farmland in Beit Hanoun- Picture taken by Corporate Watch, November 2013

We met ‘Salah’* at his home in Beit Hanoun in the Northern Gaza Strip a few weeks after his release from seven years prison in Israel. A celebration tent had been set up in his house since his release. We wanted to speak to Salah about the conditions for sick patients in Israeli jails, the particular problems for prisoners from Gaza and the complicity of international companies like G4S and Hewlett Packard in the Israeli prison system. The Ketziot prison where Salah spent some of his period of imprisonment has been receiving services from British/Danish company G4S since 2007.

The effects of Israeli air attacks are never far away in Beit Hanoun. As his sons and grandsons bring us tea to drink, Salah tells us that during the Israeli bombardment in November 2012 his grandson ‘Hisham’, who was three and a half years old, “was playing a little way away from a government building. The building was struck by an F16 and rubble hit him on the head. He was in intensive care for seven days.” We are invited to feel the soft patch in Hisham’s skull where he was injured. Salah goes on to tell us: “My son ‘Abed’, now 20 years old, was in the street when the group of boys he was with was targeted by an Apache [helicopter]. One of them was killed and 18 injured. Abed’s hand was amputated, he is seriously psychologically affected.” Continue reading