Just Stop Oil: UN criticizes “harsh” prison sentences

Long prison sentences handed down to two Just Stop Oil climate activists could stifle protests, the United Nations has warned the British government.

Protesters caused traffic jams after scaling the Dartford Crossing bridge for almost 40 hours in October last year.

Morgan Trowland, 40, was sentenced to three years in prison and Marcus Decker, 34, to two years for public nuisance.

In response to the UN, the government said the right to protest is a fundamental part of British democracy but that the “law-abiding majority” must be able to go about their daily lives.

At an appeal hearing last month, Lady Carr, the chief justice, defended the sentences, saying they served a “legitimate” aim of deterring others from committing such offences. Activists were not allowed to challenge them in the Supreme Court.

The warning is contained in a letter shown to BBC News, sent to the government by the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry, on August 15 this year .

The penalties are “significantly more severe than penalties imposed for this type of offense in the past,” notes Mr. Fry.

He said he was concerned about “the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association”.

The letter goes on to say that the new public order law, which came into force in July, “appears to be a direct attack on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”

The new legislation includes measures to curb disruptive protests.

The letter sent in mid-August requested a response within 60 days but received no response, which the UN special rapporteur called “troubling.”

“Most countries take these letters seriously and respond to them,” Mr Fry told BBC News. He suggested the lack of a formal response reflected “a general disregard for human rights concerns by the current government”.

The Interior Ministry said it had “responded” to the special rapporteur’s letter.

He said peaceful protests are an essential part of a democratic society and a long-standing tradition in the UK, provided they are carried out within the law.

The new legislation is designed to “clarify the definition of serious disruption and enable police to clear the roads quickly”, she told the BBC, adding that the new legislation on protests had been put in place at the following an appropriate parliamentary procedure and was compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Human rights.

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