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[casi] Official in court case - Lyndhurst Magistrates Court, Hampshire on 24/10/02 @ 0945am

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Weapons inspectors in court, following unusual arrest

Three weapons inspectors Per Herngren (Sweden), Susan Van De Hijden (Netherlands) and Les Gibbons 
(UK),  were arrested at Marchwood Military
Port on Sunday 20th October during a spot inspection.

Following a mandate from 25 concerned US peace activists, a group
of Citizen European Weapons Inspectors were commissioned to enter
a military facility for inspections which was aimed to assess the risk
of any deployment of goods to the Middle East / Gulf which might be
later used for a war on Iraq.

Though denied entrance, they were invited, following intense and
valued dialogue, to return two days later by the 'officer in charge'
for a select tour. However, the three inspectors were not prepared
to 'negotiate the chosen day of inspection' and were determined to
'inspect anyway'. In doing so they found themselves arrested,
as they made a necessary entry into the base cutting through the
fence so as to cause minimal damage.

The inspectors were however able to ascertain that in the run up to
any war on Iraq, Marchwood Military Port would be a key UK port in
any war effort therefore, it may be deemed necessary for those seriously
committed to civil disobedience [1] to continue to monitor the
risk from shipments deployed from there and so be in a state of
heightened readiness to act proactively to disrupt war plans
using civil disobedience /non violent direct action.

Prior to entering to carry out the inspection. Les Gibbons (44) and
Lizzie Jones (29), part of the ‘citizen weapons inspections team',
delivered a written mandate to the base on Sunday 20th October
outlining their intentions. They acted alongside fellow Welsh,
Swedish, and Dutch and inspectors.

“Reports in the media about logistics regiments stockpiling
machinery and supplies in readiness for war made this
inspection essential. Iraq is a country already experiencing
12 years of economic sanctions and a devastated
infrastructure, further war would cause untold suffering”,
explained Gibbons, today.

Those arrested for alledged criminal damage were
Per Herngren (Sweden), Susan van der Hijden
(The Netherlands) and Les Gibbons (UK). They were
all released by 2.00am on Monday morning. Charges
were brought, eventually only against Van De Hijden after
interrogation who will appear in Lyndhurst, Hampshire on
Thursday 24th October for charges of criminal damage.

Press release Les: 01329 312552

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