29 February, Hastings Magistrates Court: A peace activist who won a
“partial victory” in the High Court regarding British complicity in
torture in Afghanistan was jailed this morning for her part in an
anti-war protest.

Maya Anne Evans (32) from St Leonards was jailed for 13 days for
non-payment of over £300 in fines and costs, stemming from a court case
in November 2009.

Ms Evans was arrested in May 2009 for taking part in a nonviolent
“Die-in for NATO’s Victims in Afghanistan” outside Britain’s military
nerve centre at Northwood, and later convicted of “obstructing the
highway”. The demonstration – held to mark the 2nd anniversary of a NATO
bombing attack that killed 47 Afghan civilians – was held to demand an
end to the bombing of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of British troops
from the country [1]. NATO bombing has continued since then. Indeed,
NATO recently confirmed the death of eight civilians in an airstrike
earlier this month [2].

Refusing to pay the fine on grounds of conscience, Ms Evans explained
that she had just returned from a trip to Afghanistan where victims of
the 10+ year war had pleaded with her to return to the UK and highlight
their plight. “I don’t feel what I did on 27 May 2009 was a crime”, she
told the Court. “We were trying to highlight the war crimes that had
been committed.”

Ms Evans recently returned from a month-long visit to Afghanistan where
she worked with Afghan peace activists, and met with refugees, human
rights workers and the relative of a civilian killed in an unmanned
“drone” strike [3].

In 2005 she was convicted for reading the names of the Iraq war dead
opposite the Cenotaph without police permission [4], and in 2010 she won
“a partial victory” in the High Court, regarding British complicity in
the torture of Afghan detainees [5].

Ms Evans said: “In Afghanistan I met a young man whose sister had been
left widowed, with an infant son, by a NATO airstrike that killed five
civilians. Meeting the victims of US and British policies has only
strengthened my conviction that we need to terminate Britain’s role in
this senseless and bloody war.”

She added: “Afghan peace campaigners urged me to do all I can to stop
British involvement in their country. It is all of our responsibility to
campaign against the death of innocent Afghan civilians, to pressurise
our government which currently has blood in its hands.”

For more info contact 07783 226 987

[2] “NATO Confirms Recent Airstrike Killed 8 Afghan Civilians”, Voice of
America, 15 February 2012, http://tinyurl.com/natoairstrike
[3] See https://fromhastingstokabul.wordpress.com
[4] “MPs condemn arrest of woman who spoke out”, Daily Mail, 8 December
2005 (http://tinyurl.com/zoep7)
[5] ”Partial victory’ in challenge to UK Taliban transfers’, BBC, 25
June 2010; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10412708å


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