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Peace Protester Sentenced to 14 Days Imprisonment

Tapol - March 21, 1997

Manchester Magistrates today sentenced Stuart Cooper, 27 of Garwoods Road, South Manchester, to 14 days at Risley Prison (617 Warrington Road, Risley, Cheshire, WA3 6BP) for his refusal to pay court costs. The costs resulted from his conviction for criminal damage to a security perimeter fence at British Aerospace Warton, Lancs, in July 1996. He was attempting to stop the export of Hawk fighter aircraft to Indonesia where they would be used against the civilians of East Timor.

In court today, Stuart reiterated that it was British Aerospace who were the real criminals by aidding and abetting with Indonesia in the genocide of the East Timorese peoples. The magistrates repeatedly asked Stuart whether he would pay, but he responded that, as a matter of conscience, he would have to refuse to pay compensation to British Aerospace.

Stuart said, as he was entering the court, "I'm prepared to go to gaol rather than participate in the silence which surrounds Indonesia's illegal and brutal occupation of East Timor. Eobody said resisting a giant like BAe would be easy, but it's important people are not intimidated by threats of gaol but that we all continue to act for life and justice."

Summing up, the magistrates said that "some laws are good, some are bad but it's not up to us to decide; we're only here to enforce them'. They then sentenced Stuart to 14 days imprisonment, starting immediately.