Eight people charged with obstructing access to an arms fair held at the London EXceL Centre in September 2015, have today been found not guilty at Stratford Magistrates’ Court.
The eight were arrested following their protest outside the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in September 2015, in which they blocked exhibitors’ access to the fair.
Raj Chada and Adeela Khan, lawyers from the criminal defence team at Hodge Jones & Allen, represented five of the defendants: Isa al-Aali (21); Thomas Franklin (57); Javier Gárate Neidhardt (36); Luis Tinoco Torrejon (40); and Bram Vranken (25).
Raj says: “It is clear that there are no proper checks at DSEI from any state agency. The government has turned a blind eye not only to the unlawful activity at DSEI, but also to the consequences of a trade that is killing thousands in Yemen and elsewhere. It is shameful that the government did not act – and our clients felt that they had to.”
Adeela says: “Critically, the government’s continued failings to stop the illegal exhibition of certain equipment used for torture or the sale of weapons to regimes that the UK knows are committing human rights abuses clearly demonstrates its inability to enforce its own law in this area. Our clients therefore feel justified in their action and make no apology for raising the public’s attention to this event.”
The DSEI event organisers said that 34,038 delegates attended the 2015 exhibition with 1,683 global defence and security organisations from 54 countries exhibiting. The next event takes place in September 2017.
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