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Scientist sentenced to 27 months for peaceful protest

Chester, 17th May 2023

Scientist Rebellion co-founder and human rights activist Mike Lynch-White was today sentenced to 27 months at Chester Crown Court for peacefully disrupting the production of military components manufactured in the UK and supplied to Israel.

He and his co-defendant Charlie Thomas had both been charged with criminal damage after climbing onto the roof of Runcorn-based factory APPH, a supplier of drone parts to Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s largest defence contractors.

The purpose of this protest - organised by the non-violent direct action group Palestine Action - was to disrupt production of landing gear intended for drones supplied to Israel, as well as to expose the links of this industry with the ongoing occupation and apartheid in Palestine. Similar drones are used by other militaries including Saudi Arabia and the UK. Once the factory was emptied and there was no risk to workers, they used paint to decorate the exterior and other tools to break windows. Since the Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act passed in 2022, such crimes of conscience are increasingly resulting in prison time.

"I have seen how the Palestinian people are at best second class citizens on their own ever-shrinking lands. Clearly, this is apartheid. We have denounced and defeated it before and we must again.

Do not be brow-beaten into silent complicity by claims that supporting the neardefenceless Palestinian people is antisemitic. The far-right government of Israel is doing this, not the Jewish people.

This is not complicated: stand with the defenceless, not the powerful." - Mike Lynch-White.

Mike has already spent almost three months on remand. He is waiting for sentencing for charges related to two more non-violent protests, with the climate-focused groups Beyond Politics/Burning Pink and Heathrow Pause.

Emma Smart, ecologist and co-founder of rewilding group Wild Card, who has also been imprisoned in the past for taking non violent direct action, says: “Our elected leaders are failing and people know it. That’s why more and more scientists are feeling a moral duty to step into civil disobedience, no matter the personal and professional sacrifices. We must therefore support Mike and others by drawing attention to this most unjust of outcomes. Silence is complicity.”

More than 50 climate protesters have spent time in prison in the UK. At this moment, more than 10 activists remain in prison; two of them, Marcus and Morgan, having been sentenced to three years of custody, has been the longest sentence for a peaceful protester in the history of UK.

Scientist Rebellion is a growing climate activist group with 1000+ scientists and academics across 32 countries. Members range from science students and professors to IPCC contributors and leading climate-related scientists. Through disruptive nonviolent action, Scientist Rebellion demands emergency decarbonization via economic degrowth. During acts of civil resistance, members wear lab coats, and volunteers organize the vast majority of the campaign activity.

The Climate Emergency Fund supports Scientist Rebellion's recruitment, training, capacity-building, and educational efforts.

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