EVANS JAILED FOR AFGHAN WAR PROTEST: FREED 6 MARCH 2012
On 29 February 2012, Maya Evans of Justice
Not Vengeance (JNV) was sentenced to 13 days in prison for refusing
to pay a fine imposed after an anti-war protest in 2009. She spoke
up firmly and clearly in court, condemning British war crimes
in Afghanistan and remembering the people she recently met in
Afghanistan, victims of NATO's war. Early on Tuesday 6 March 2012,
Maya was released from HMP Bronzefield near Ashford, Surrey, to
be greeted by a small group of supporters.
Many thanks to all those who wrote letters
and cards to Maya while she was inside.
Maya (third from left) outside Hastings Magistrates
Court on 29 February 2012. Photo: Gabriel Carlyle.
Below is the press release we sent out on
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
second 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
. NATO bombing has continued since then. Indeed, NATO recently
confirmed the death of eight civilians in an airstrike earlier
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 decade-long
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.
In 2005, she was convicted for reading
the names of the Iraq war dead opposite the Cenotaph without
police permission, and in 2010 she won "a
partial victory" in the High Court, regarding British
complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees.
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."
JNV published Maya's book Naming
the Dead in 2006. It is available for £7 inc p&p
from JNV, 29 Gensing Road, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN38