Holding a banner is worse than beating a man until he is blind…

Sean Kirtley was sentenced to four and a half years by Judge Ross on Friday, Sean has done nothing but hold peaceful demonstrations against Sequani and its suppliers. He was identified as a main target by police as he updated the SSAT website and phone and internet records according to police showed a hierarchy and some form of organisation! (Which is clearly illegal now…)

On the same day, a mother who shopped her sons to the police are sentenced to two years for beating a father for no reason until he was blinded.

We live in a time when people like Michael Porter who was convicted of 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency on children – one of which was committed on an 18-month-old baby is a given a community rehabilitation order and a guy who holds a placard is locked away and treated as a terrorist!

Please show your support by writing to Sean at his new prison address:
Sean Kirtley WC 6977, HMP Blakenhurst, Hewell Lane, Redditch, B97 6QS

We have also designed some stencils for those willing to raise awareness of what has happened to Sean and our right to protest! Click here to download them!

Support Sean Site and MySpace…

Sean has a new support site and MySpace.

Click here for the MySpace.

Click here for the support site.

Schnews Article About Sequani Six

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

Britain’s longest running animal rights trial is nearing its end after 18 weeks. The result has serious implications for civil liberties. As we reported back in SchNEWS 616 seven defendants were on trial under the new SOCPA Laws for campaigning against Ledbury animal testing laboratory Sequani. As of going to press one man, Sean Kirtley has received a guilty verdict while three others were acquitted and two are still awaiting a verdict. (One plead guilty early in proceedings in attempt to strike a bargain). Sean has now been remanded to HMP Winson Green in Birmingham.

The seven were initially busted two years ago in Operation Tornado, which has ended up costing £4m (2% of the entire police budget for West Mercia for that year). Police seized computers, phones, personal mail and clothing from houses and workplaces They even seized a packet of Rizla!

The case taken out under section 145 of SOCPA, which makes it illegal to ‘Interference with contractual relationships so as to harm animal research organisation” The interesting twist is that instead of a straightforward charge the activists were charged with conspiracy, which not only carries a heavier sentence but allows a much broader range of evidence in.1000s of hours of video footage and a detailed analysis of mobile phone records was used to try and build a picture of a hierarchy within the campaign. Based on records of who called who and when police tried to build a picture of how the campign was structured. Defendants were asked to provide reasons for virtually every phone call they’d made to each other. One supporter told us “They’ve built a ludicrously skewed picture on what were effectivley phone calls between a group of friends – they were desperate to place Sean as the leader – he’s no such thing”.

There was no evidence of intimidation or harassment or section 5 style offences by Sean Kirtley although he has now been found guilty as he was seen as the organiser of most of the demonstrations and was considered by police to be “number 1”. The main plank of the evidence was that forensics from his home computer showed that he had updated the campaign website.

Despite being a keen foxhunter and paid up member of pro-shooting lobby-group BASC, Judge Ross refused to step down. His involvement in the killing of animals and obvious opposition to the idea of animal welfare (never mind animal rights) would have on many levels affected his judgement. The trial went ahead under a fearsome set of reporting restrictions. The jury were bussed in on a daily basis and told that they could be a target for animal rights extremists. At the same time in the same building murder trial witnesses and jury members had to make their own way into the court.

People were frisked as they entered the public gallery and some were ejected for wearing “animal rights” clothing – even down to a shirt which read “Vegan”. One campaigner told us “Human rights organisation Liberty were hassled constantly by ourselves and other activists to get them to shed light on what we could see would be a time bomb clusterfuck for movements other than our own. They told us they were too busy.”

Our court correspondent told us “So to sum up, Sean Kirtley is in prison and facing a possible 5 year sentence for holding placards, attending demonstrations just because people phoned him and said, “shall we go and demo Sequani this weekend”. He was not the organiser but it was far too much of an efficient campaign to go unnoticed by those who stand to profit from vivisection. The campaign is not over,a change of tactics is being strongly discussed within our group and we plan on taking the fight to new levels over the coming months.”

Please Support Animal Liberation Prisoner Sean Kirtley!

Our friend and fellow Sequani activist Sean Kirtley was remanded yesterday and awaits sentencing in relation to the 18 week Sequani trial and Operation Tornado.

Please send him your messages of solidarity and support!
Sean Kirtley (WC6977), HMP Birmingham Prison, Winson Green Road, Birmingham B18 4AS

We will find out what can be sent to Sean in prison very soon,

We will also be setting up a support MySpace and Blog for Sean in due course!

Sequani Trial Update – One Remanded – Three not guilty so far…

One of our friends Sean Kirtley was remanded in custody today after a jury found him guilty of Conspiracy to interfere with contractual relationships so as to harm animal research organisation. Rose Golding, Gemma Astbury and Wendy Clark have been found not guilty. Pauline Burgess and Jo Goodyear should have a verdict tomorrow.

Sean is a tireless campaigner for animals and we hope to put a support network in place for him when he has been sentenced and assigned a prison number.

It would seem that someone was needed to make the four million pound operation tornado case look like it wasn’t an astronomical waste of cash.

So what did Sean do to end up in prison, what was the evidence that took a father away from his family and ended him in prison.

Sean was responsible for the SSAT website. He never swore at people on a demonstration, he never used illegal direct action to further the campaign against Sequani. He never intimidated anyone or wrote threatening letters.
The prosecution had him pegged as the organiser of most of the demonstrations at Sequani and suppliers and used hearsay evidence and phone logs to make him seem like a hub for times and places of demonstrations.

We all try to do what we can as part of a campaign against a place like Sequani, Sean had skills which allowed him to maintain the SSAT and he was not a leader he just did everything he could to help animals inside Sequani. Police saw the website as a threat and therefore Sean as a more effective activist from the group which made him a target for anti protest police.

Needless to say, the campaign continues and with love and rage in our hearts we will battle on through the police bullshit and flawed legislation until all are the cages are empty at Sequani and the horrors that animals face inside daily stops forever.

We will update the Stop Sequani site with details of how to write to Sean etc ASAP.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Sequani Six over the past 18 weeks.

SSC

Jury out to decide the fate of the Sequani Six (longest AR trial in history)

We have heard the lies, we have heard the half truths, we have heard hearsay evidence being presented to the jury even though it fell outside the indictable period. We know about the judge being a self confessed hunter. So what justice for the Sequani Six?

We can only hope that the jury through the bullshit and see that these people, our friends, our family, our fellow activists as the caring individuals they are.

With so many conflicting accounts and outright lies by those heavily invested in animal experimentation at Sequani and the government appointed protectors of the vivisection industry we can only assume that it is true that these activists are being fitted up in order to set a new president for activists targeting industry in the UK.

This is a modern day version of first they came for the animal rights activists. How long before your movement is affected by every changing movement specific SOCPA laws protecting those involved with GM / Arms Trade / Climate Change etc?

The simple fact is that the UK government can see people organising against the corporations that are destroying this planet and its inhabitants and they are starting a war against the right to organise and assemble. Divide and conquer would seem to be the tactic, the animal rights movement it’s not really my thing so what do we care?

Imagine SOCPA legislation which takes a minor public order offence and turns it into a five year sentence for swearing with others on an anti arms trade demonstration on the basis that others organised the demo and phoned other people to see if they were attending (conspiring are you?). Just being friends with other activists makes you co-conspirators in New Labours, New Britain.

We still would like answers, like why the press restrictions? Why, when gang land murderers are in other courtrooms in Birmingham Crown Court are the press allowed freedom to report yet when a groundbreaking case which has far reaching implications for ALL of our civil liberties is ongoing there is a media blackout? Why were the jury bussed in each day like they were at serious risk of animal rights terrorists getting to them? But witnesses and jury members for gang related murder cases or terror trials had no special circumstances.

We will let everyone know the second we hear anything, either way please raise a glass for our friends today and a huge thank you to everyone who supported the Six and sent us a messages during the longest animal rights trial in history.

Chris
Stop Sequani Campaign

A Letter of Thanks, to the Supporters of the Sequani Six

As we believe the jury will `go out` soon, probably on Wednesday, this seems to be the perfect opportunity to send our thanks, to all the wonderful, caring people who have responded to the appeal for travel funds for the Sequani defendants. The generosity of the donations, and the good-will and support shown, in the messages, has been over-whelming. The fund has covered the travel expenses for all six people, for the 16 weeks that this trial has lasted, and has been a huge help to all of them. The defendants also wish to thank the little group of friends and supporters, who have attended the court on every possible occasion, and attempted to be of help, when things have been most difficult during the 4 months this disgraceful `trial` has dragged on for!
Sean Kirtley, Pauline Burgess, Jo Goodyear, Rose Golding, Gemma Astbury and Wendy Clark, send all of you, their heartfelt thanks, for the generosity, kindness and support you have shown them, and hope that you will keep them in your thoughts, especially in this coming week, whilst they wait for the verdicts.
Love and respect to you all,
Ann,
Coventry Animal Alliance
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