Cardiff arms fair protesters acquitted!

3 people were acquitted of “failure to leave land” (under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act) at Cardiff Magistrates Court today. They were arrested at a protest against weapons sales to Turkey at the DPRTE arms fair at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in March.

The defendants included a member of the Kurdish community in south Wales, a member of Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network, and a member of Bristol Anarchist Federation.

A group of people holding a banner that says "Defend Afrin: solidarity from Bristol", several Kurdish flags and an anarchist flag

Imam Sis, one of the defendants, said:
“As a human being I have the right to protest murderers. When Turkey is killing my people using British supplied arms I will protest. The British government is complicit in the death of over 300 civilians including women and children who died during Turkey’s bombing of Kurds in Afrin. At the start of the Turkish invasion Boris Johnson openly gave official support to the Turkish regime.”

Catherine Lambert, another defendant, said:
“I’m pleased we’ve been acquitted, but this doesn’t change the fact that the UK government and companies like BAE, who exhibited at the arms fair, are complicit in war crimes in Afrin by selling weapons to Turkey. There is widespread evidence Turkey employ former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion and occupation of Afrin, and there are regular reports in Kurdish media of torture, kidnapping, rape, and the enslavement of women and girls, in occupied Afrin.”

Several of the companies who exhibited at DPRTE this year are known to manufacture weapons or components for equipment for the Turkish military, including BAE Systems. [1] The Independent reported in May that the Chairperson of BAE told his shareholders he “does not know” if British weapons are used to commit war crimes. [2]

 

Notes

1. Official partners of this year’s DPRTE event were the Department For International Trade, along with BAE, Airbus, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and QinetiQ, all of whom manufacture weapons or components for equipment for the Turkish military.

BAE have a contract to develop the TF-X fighter jet for Turkey:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38779669

Airbus manufacture the wing for the A400M multi-role transport aircraft for the Turkish military:
http://company.airbus.com/careers/Our-locations/Filton.html

MBDA, have a joint contract with the Turkish government, along with Thales, for a study into the development and production of a long-range air and missile defence system:
https://www.reuters.com/article/france-turkey-defence-eurosam/turkey-awards-missile-system-study-to-franco-italian-group-turkish-firms-idUSL8N1P02NS

Rolls-Royce supply various systems and engines to the Turkish armed forces:
https://www.rolls-royce.com/worldwide-presence/turkey/markets-and-products.aspx
QinetiQ have an export license to Turkey:
https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/mapping/organisation/2706

2. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/saudi-war-crimes-yemen-british-weapons-bae-systems-know-agm-values-a8347736.html

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