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Indybay Feature
Sat Dec 27 2008
Animal Rights Activists in UK Convicted of Blackmail
State Repression of Anti-Corporate Dissent
On December 23rd, four out of five activists on trial at Winchester Crown Court, UK were found guilty of 'Conspiracy to Blackmail' Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) after a three and a half month long trial. The world's corporate media, prompted by police press officers, were quick to condemn Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) by providing examples of harassment against the employees of HLS and their customers, shareholders and investors.

Illegal actions taken against HLS, but not linked to those convicted, were pointed to as evidence of the defendants' extremism. Police spokesmen and the National Extremist Coordination Unit, the branch of the police set up to eliminate the animal rights movement and other expressions of the public's dissent, hailed the convictions as a victory. What was not examined in the media was the worrying development of the repressive use of the law which lead to the conviction of the four defendants.

The trial is part of a larger attack on the animal rights movement. In May this year, Sean Kirtley, an activist involved with Stop Sequani Animal Torture (SSAT), was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for updating a website with news about a legal, nonviolent campaign to close down Sequani laboratories in Ledbury. Read More

see also: SHAC v HLS | Strategic Importance of HLS in the broader anticapitalist fight | Indymedia UK SHAC topic page
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