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Issue: 24 March 2010
lost two cousins murdered by Israeli
security forces days before the rally.
The severity of the sentencing has
also provoked strong reaction from
supporters of the Britain’s largest
peace group network, Stop The War
Coalition (STWC).
STWC, which described the jail
terms as “draconian” particularly
because the majority have no prior
convictions, have been holding
protests outside the court and held a
meeting in the British parliament.
An IHCR report into the protests,
published last month, found some
very disturbing eyewitness accounts
of allegedly unprofessional police
conduct, in some cases amounting
to police brutality, during the
Claims were that “law enforcement
Several more demonstrators who took At Isleworth Crown Court in officials used tactics of intimidation
part in last year’s anti-Israel rallies at London, one more protester was and indiscriminate, disproportionate
the height of atrocities in Gaza have sentenced to 12 months in prison, force”; they “failed to communicate
been jailed in the UK, raising concern while another will serve ten months in effectively with demonstrators” and
that the prosecutions are politically a Young Offenders Institute. employed “heavy handedness” and
motivated. A total of seventeen have so far “abusive language”.
The Islamic Human Rights been jailed in connections to the The report makes a particular point
Commission (IHRC) criticised the protests at the Israeli Embassy, of criticising the tactic of “corralling
sentencing, saying it “fails to take receiving sentences between eight or ‘kettling’ demonstrators”. It claims
into account that grave police months and two and a half years. that riot police “charged into the
mismanagement and abuse of police Another 45 people who have crowd” on more than one occasion
powers contributed to the tense pleaded guilty are yet to be sentenced, and that there were also reports at
situation at the demonstrations.” while trials are still awaited for another one point that gas was used against
“We are concerned that such 17, who unlike the majority have the crowds.
heavy sentencing, the subsequent refused to change their not guilty Over 30 officially recorded
confiscation of passports and other pleas. complaints have been filed about
intimidatory measures are an attempt The IHRC said that two of those the way that the police treated the
to deter protesting, in particular in already sentenced were only 16 protests, but it is thought that all have
support of Palestine, and by Muslims,” at the time of the demonstrations, been dismissed by the Independent
said IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh. while another was a Palestinian who Police Complaints Commission.
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