Sunday, January 16, 2022

Isolate British activists released from prison

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An Insulate Britain activist who went on a hunger strike in prison said it was “a beautiful day” when she was released from captivity.

Emma Smart, an ecologist, was rescued from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey just after 9.40am on Friday.

The ecologist went on a 26-day hunger strike in prison and was transferred to the hospital wing 13 days after her strike.

Speaking to the media after her departure, she said: “This is amazing. This is a beautiful day. It’s lovely to have the sun on me – I haven’t had it in a few weeks.”

She read from a statement outside the prison, which said: “While we were in prison families in the UK have been told to expect a 50 per cent increase in their energy bills. That’s a shame.

“We know that millions of households in the UK already struggle with fuel poverty, with many thousands of people dying cold, lonely deaths each year because they cannot afford to heat their homes.”

Ms Smart was jailed with nine others last year for violating a government injunction preventing the campaign group from protesting in the streets.

dr Diana Warner, a retired GP, was also released from the same prison.

Four other members – James Thomas, an architect, Oliver Rock, a carpenter, Roman Paluch, a warehouse operator, and Tim Speers, a volunteer – will also be sacked from HMP Thameside in south-east London on Friday.

Members of Insulate Britain took part in a series of protests, imposing blockades on major roads between September and November last year, causing lengthy traffic jams.

They are calling on the government to introduce guidelines and funding for a national home insulation program, starting with all public housing.

The state-owned National Highways responded to the protests by obtaining injunctions from the High Court banning demonstrations on motorways and major trunk roads in England.

During a High Court hearing in November, Thomas, Smart, Rock, Paluch and Speers admitted breaching an injunction by participating in a blockade at junction 25 of the motorway during the morning rush hour on October 8 . They were sentenced to four months imprisonment.

Warner was sentenced to two months in prison at a separate High Court hearing in December for breaching the restraining order in September.

A final member of the group, Ben Taylor, a community volunteer, remains in prison after serving a six-month sentence.

Three other members of the group, who were detained last year, have since been released.

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