Second Christian pensioner jailed for peace protest

A 67-year-old pensioner from Keighley in Yorkshire was sentenced to four days in prison at Bingley Magistrates Court today, for refusing to pay fines arising from a series of protests against Trident in and around Faslane Naval Base in Scotland during the summer of 2009.

Mrs Sylvia Boyes, who is a Quaker, painted a rock at the base with the words 'Scots! Say No to Trident'. She also took part in a blockade of the Coulport nuclear weapons storage facility, and walked in the main gate of Faslane, the homeport of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system.  For these actions she was charged with 'Malicious Mischief, Breach of the Peace and Aggravated Trespass'.  

Mrs Boyes has been imprisoned on numerous ocassions for anti-Trident protests. The Court refused to allow her to give a statement of her reasons for refusing to pay £700 in fines. She insisted the Court accept her written statement which said: "As a responsible person I must act to bring about disarmament. A necessary part of that campaign is to carry out non-violent direct actions at military bases. No government can continue policies without the active or silent acceptance of its people. This includes the police and judiciary. So while I accept responsibility for my actions, I am refusing to pay fines as a further act of civil disobedience and am fully aware of the consequences.*

She said in court: "I know that this country’s continued possession of nuclear weapons constitutes a crime against humanity. All nuclear weapons are weapons of mass murder and destruction  and while in narrow terms of the law this is debateable, each Trident warhead with its explosive power of eight times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, would cause immediate death and destruction followed by the long term horrific effects of radiation, causing cancers, tumours as well as long term genetic damage to future generations. Britain has around 160 of these warheads."

Last week 81-year-old Georgina Smith was jailed for 45 days for refusal to pay a £3, 000 compensation order for her part in painting the Scottish High Court, also in protest against Trident.

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