Calais: 6 held in prison for storming “Spirit of Britain”, trial in February

Today (25 January) 8 people appeared before the court in Boulogne (near Calais), after Saturday’s mass invasion of the port and occupation of the ferry “Spirit of Britain”. The judge set the next hearing for 22 February. 6 of the defendants were without European papers, and they are now being held in Longuenesse prison until the trial. The other 2 are citizens, and have been released on bail. Report below from Calais Migrant Solidarity.

Today, the 25th of January, 8 defendants were led out in front of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) in Boulogne-Sur-Mer for occupying the ‘Spirit of Britain’ ferry after Saturday’s protest in Calais port. 6 of the defendants were people without papers from the Jungle, charged with a breach of the transport code which involved entering a ferry without permission. The residents of the Jungle that appeared in court today were from conflict zones across the world, there were people from Afghanistan, Sudan, and Syria. There were also 2 supporters in court, these two francophones were charged with the same breach of the transport code and also face an extra charge of facilitating entry. The maximum sentence for these offenses is 6 months in prison or a €3,500 fine.

The accelerated nature of the hearing was a point of contention. After the defence barristers were informed that all 8 cases would be heard together, they requested that the tribunal be delayed. The judges decided to put the hearing back until February 22nd. After the delays placed upon this case the 2 francophone supporters were released on bail, while the 6 people without papers were held in dentention. They have since been returned to Longeunesse penitentary near Saint-Omer to stew for a month in prision before the next hearing. Calais Migrant Solidarity will be organising prisoner support for those detained in the coming month.

The political nature of this prosecution is obvious. After a demonstration involving over two thousand people and supported by an entire pletheroa of organisations (including: ATMF, CISPM, CNT-RP, Collectif Paris 20ème Solidaire avec touTEs les migrantEs, CSP 75, Droits Devant !!!, EELV Paris, Intégration 21, La Horde, LDH, NPA, Sans-Voix Paris 18ème, SNPES-PJJ-FSU IDF, SUD Culture, UJFP, Union Locale Solidaires des 5e-13e arrondissements de Paris et d’Ivry, UNSP, London2Calais, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais Antifascists) these 8 people face prosecution. Similar to the continual disrubitions over the summer and the imprisonment and political prosecution of the three Channel Tunnel walkers for ‘disrupting a railway carriage’, even after one of the defendants, Abdul Rahman Haroun, was granted asylum. The French state is reproducing the tactics of its British counterpart by criminalising the actions of those fighting the border. As those without papers, detained by the state for willing to fight for their freedom of movement, sit in their cells tonight, those outside the prisons walls should not forget our friends inside!

(posted from rabble.org.uk)

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