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Priest and lay anti-nuclear collaborator convicted in UK


A British priest and his lay accomplice who have been found guilty of trespass and criminal damage arising out of an action protesting against nuclear weapons.

Trident Ploughshares campaigners Fr Martin Newell, 33, and Ms Susan van der Hijden, 32, were convicted last Friday on the charges, following an action that caused $A84,728 damage to a nuclear convoy truck last November. But although they were sentenced to twelve months in prison, they were freed because they have already served more than half their sentences on remand.

Outside the court Ms van der Hijden said: "Nothing that had been said in court has changed my mind. I am happy to be out and I am happy that we managed to convince two of the jurors. My immediate plans are to give talks and workshops but I would do what we did again."

According to a press statement, when asked whether he would be willing to break the law again to challenge Trident, Fr Newell said that the only lawbreaking in this case was what the UK state was doing in threatening Trident. He said he felt he had to take responsibility for what his country was doing, providing for his defence, at the expense of people's lives worldwide. He thanked his family for their support over the last six months.


ICN


30-May-01