On 6 February, the Stansted 15 received non-custodial sentences for their non-violent direct action to halt the forced deportation of 60 migrants. The light sentences are a victory compared to the threat of sentences of up to 15 years of jail.
That reflects the political pressure of hundreds of solidarity activists who mobilised in support, including some Labour MPs. Outside the court room one of the 15, May MacKeith, told journalists: “Until there’s been a full enquiry into the hostile environment and an end to deportations and detention centres, we’ll keep on fighting.” The End Deportations campaign group said:
“After the immense stress, the fear, the uncertainty, the intimidation, we rejoice this chance to breathe. And yet still they deported 40 people to Jamaica this morning.
“Still they sentenced 15 friends as terrorists, [with] repercussions on every defendant’s life, and for all of us taking direct action in the future. Still the detention centres stand. Still even progressive politicians call for 28 days.
“We say not one day. We should be more angry than ever.”
The Stansted 15 will be appealing against their sentences under the on the grounds that they have been charged under anti-terrorist legislation for peaceful protest.