Charges dropped against activists who occupied Israeli arms factory for two days

Protestors on top of Elbit roof with banner
Support us and go ad-free

Seven people who squatted an Israeli arms factory in Kent for two days have had their charges dropped. As The Canary previously reported, they entered the factory compound in the early hours of 27 August and remained there for two days. The activists barricaded the gate, forcing the factory to stop work during the occupation.

Instro Precision is owned by Elbit Systems. Elbit is Israel’s largest privately owned arms and security company, and one of the biggest weapons companies in the world.

The Stop Elbit activists were facing trial for aggravated trespass, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment. They were planning to argue that their actions were necessary and lawful due to the weapons produced at the factory. And they believe the charges were dropped because the company doesn’t want to face the scrutiny of a trial.

Killing civilians and children in Gaza

According to the Stop Elbit press release:

Elbit provides 85% of Israel’s drones, used to attack Gaza’s civilian population repeatedly. Drones were used during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge which killed over 2200 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including over five hundred children. Further, Elbit components have been used by Israel to kill hundreds of protesters in Gaza, who are protesting for their basic human rights, as part of the Great March of Return.

The protesters say that some of the information regarding the equipment sold to Israel has only become public after they asked for disclosure for the trial:

During the course of these legal proceedings, the Defence had demanded disclosure from Elbit’s Kent-based Instro Precision factory relating to its involvement in the manufacture of weapon sights and gun scopes, components and add-ons for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) and targeting systems for tanks. Last month Instro Precision publicly acknowledged its involvement by adding a number of these items to its online product brochure for the first time (all models are known to be in service with the Israel Defense Force).

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

A spokesperson for Stop Elbit-Instro Defendants Solidarity Campaign said in a previous press release:

The skilled engineers of Elbit-Instro could be working to make the world a better place, yet instead they are employed to build machines that incinerate children. Shame on them all.

What are they hiding?

Both the defendants and their solicitor believe that there are questions over why the charges were dropped. One of those whose charges were dropped, Susannah Mengesha, said:

It is not yet clear what meetings have taken place. But, we can only conclude that the CPS dropped all charges against us because somebody doesn’t want the full extent of information about the deadly weapons Instro is producing to become public

And their solicitor, Lydia Dagostino from Kellys, also raised concerns about the factory:

This is not the first time that cases against activists have been dropped at Instro Precision Ltd (Elbit). It begs the question – what on earth is going on inside this factory that the company doesn’t want to be the subject of scrutiny?

The Canary contacted Instro Precision for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

The campaign continues

Activists have vowed to continue the campaign against the factory. Meanwhile, campaigners organise across the country to protest against this deadly trade. It’s down to all of us to stand up and tell arms dealers that their deals in death are not done in our names.

Featured image used with permission

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

  • Support Block the Factory.
  • Support the defendants and donate to help future campaigns.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us