Long Retrial Wait for UK’s ‘Elbit Six’

Members of Palestine Action, a group targeting an Israeli arms maker’s U.K. operations, will take the stand once again in June 2025, Anita Mureithi reports. 

Supporters of the “Elbit Eight” — now the “Elbit Six” at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London. (Palestine Action)

By Anita Mureithi

Six Palestine Action activists will face a retrial over the shutdown of an Israeli arms firm’s U.K. factories.

The group, originally known as the Elbit Eight” – now the “Elbit Six” will take the stand once again in June 2025.

Jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court acquitted the defendants of a total of nine charges in December, but failed to reach a decision on 23 others. The activists will now be retried on the charges the jury was unable to reach a verdict on.

The charges — most of which relate to criminal damage — follow a series of direct actions as part of Palestine Action’s relentless campaign to shut Elbit down.

[See: Direct-Action Targets UK Firms Arming Israel]

The defendants are Richard Barnard, Huda Ammori, Robin Refualu, Milly Arnott, Caroline Brouard and Nicola Deane.

[See: Risking Prison to Shut Israel’s Elbit Down]

Speaking ahead of the mid-January court hearing, Arnott described the wait for a retrial as a “form of psychological warfare on defendants, because it’s another year and a half where we can’t progress with our life — you can’t make long-term decisions, or get jobs. The consequences go way beyond just waiting for this trial.”

She said: 

“I did these direct actions when I had just turned 27. I’m now 30. By the time I get to my retrial, I will be nearly 32. I never anticipated just how long I would be wound up in this whole legal process when I was first arrested.”

Lydia Dagostino, the group’s solicitor and director at Kellys Solicitors, agreed and added that the backlog within the criminal justice system has been brought about by “chronic underfunding for a very long time” as well as more recent events including the Covid-19 pandemic and the barristers strike.

“This trial was around six weeks,” she said. “It’s an exhausting process and the prospect of going through that again, for many defendants, is really daunting.

“If you look at it like surgery, it’s like having one major operation and then being told you’ve got to have another one. Just because you’ve been through that pain and you know what to expect, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier.”

Anita Mureithi is a reporter at openDemocracy. She tweets @anitamureithii.

This article is from Open Democracy.

2 comments for “Long Retrial Wait for UK’s ‘Elbit Six’

  1. Steve
    January 31, 2024 at 09:58

    As Assange knows, the process is the punishment. Welcome to western justice.

  2. Rebecca
    January 31, 2024 at 06:37

    There are various ways to consider what is happening here. One is to acknowledge that the UK is not a democracy; its state has little connection with the people it claims to look after; its elected representatives are attached more closely to the corporate class than to the working class who create the wealth of the UK. Therefore, anyone defying the interests of that class can expect a severe punishment. The UK government and the Labour leadership serve the State of Israel before the people of the UK.

    Another way is from a socialist and abolitionist perspective. So far as I can tell, and correct me if I am wrong, the majority of the Palestine Action campaigners are from the middle class and would have little if any contact with the criminal justice system (which has nothing to do with relative levels of criminal behaviour between classes). It must be a severe shock to learn how life is for many poorer people who are subjected to oppression, bullying and harassment by the police, just as it is for wealthy people who learn how little money the working class lives on. I hope this experience brings a greater solidarity and less condemnation of working class people living with criminal convictions.

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