Tomorrow, 25 July, July 25th the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh will hear an appeal against special bail conditions imposed by a Justice of the Peace in Dumbarton JP Court on 13 July. The case lodged on behalf of Trident Ploughshares campaigner Angie Zelter arises from her participation in a blockade of the nuclear warhead store at Coulport on Loch Long.
Ms Zelter was arrested along with Brian Quail (79) a retired teacher from Glasgow, Sam Donaldson, 29, a Community Worker from Hull, Almudena Izquierdo Olmo, 60, from Madrid, a worker at the Politecnical University, and Juan Carlos Navarro Diaz, 46, a University librarian from the Canary Islands.
Ms Zelter, a peace and environmental campaigner from Knighton in Wales was remanded to custody along with Brian Quail when they refused to accept the bail condition not to go within 100m of the nuclear weapon bases at Coulport and Faslane. Angie Zelter is in Edinburgh Prison and Brian Quail is in Low Moss and their jailing until their trial on Aug 3rd has gained considerable public attention.
Ms Zelter argued that she had no intention of lying in the roadway again but had every right to protest at the bases as many protesters have done on a weekly basis since 2006.
She told the court that she had had no conviction in the last ten years and that she had reported the UK government to the police for the crime of deploying a weapon of mass destruction, as well as the Prime Minister for her Commons admission that she would give the order to fire a weapon of mass murder. According to Zelter Trident was a breach of international law, and the adoption of the UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty just five days earlier had further confirmed its illegal status.
Brian Quail has not so far appealed and will remain in custody at least until an intermediate hearing scheduled for Dumbarton Justice of the Peace Court on Wednesday 26 July.
Mr Quail said: "We acted because of the manifest illegality of Trident. As the weapon of mass destruction ne plus ultra, it unquestionably belongs to the class of prohibited weaponry. Our action took place two days after 122 states in the United Nations agreed a draft treaty banning nuclear weapons. This closes the gap in law whereby chemical and biological weapons are banned by international agreement while nuclear weapons have not specifically been dealt with."
"Britain and the other rogue states boycotted the process. The UK claim to support multilateral nuclear disarmament, but has turned it's back on this multilateral disarmament process. We hope our witness will call attention to these facts and inspire others to take action to resist the ongoing deployment of Trident."
Angie Zelter said: "Right since Trident Ploughshares was launched in 1998 members of Trident Ploughshares have stood up in Court and argued that Trident is illegal because it is an inherently indiscriminate weapon, the use of which would inevitably cause the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands if not millions of civilians. At times the courts have listened to those arguments. At other times they have not.
Now the United Nations has adopted a Treaty that will ban nuclear weapons for the very reasons so many of us have for so long taken action, and gone to prison - because of the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. The new global norm of not possessing, deploying or using nuclear weapons makes clear that the nine nuclear weapons States - including the UK - are out of step with the rest of the world.
So at this time it is even more important that we stand at the gates of the places where those weapons are held and demand that the government listen to the majority world and start the process of disarmament now.
We welcome support from all those who stand with us and for disarmament, and we will take our arguments to every court, government body, and high street, until the UK and the world is rid of these terrible weapons."
A United Nations conference of 130 countries passed a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons on Friday 7 July 2017 in New York. The Ban Treaty will be open for signatory on 20 September and will come into force 90 days after being signed by fifty countries. It has the support of the majority of countries. The ban will prohibit possession, use, threat of use and assistance in the deployment or production of nuclear weapons.
More details on the Ban Treaty are available from: icanw.org or nuclearban.scot or reachingcriticalwill.org/
For more information on Trident Poughshares see: tridentploughshares.org
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