Statement from KSN, Plan C and Network for Police Monitoring about the state dropping the charges against Dan Burke, Sam Newey and Paul Newey
On 3 June at a hearing at at the Old Bailey the CPS confirmed that they would offer no evidence in the terrorism cases against Dan Burke, Paul Newey and Sam Newey.
The defendants have made an application for the judge to order the cps to explain why they brought the charges, and then dropped them.
(The attached picture is of a small support picket held outside the Old Bailey on 3rd July)
Dan has been in prison on remand for eight months on charges related to fighting with the People’s Defence Forces (YPG) in Northeast Syria.
Paul Newey was being prosecuted for sending a small amount of money to his son, Dan Newey, who is currently volunteering with the YPG. Sam is Dan’s brother, and his charges relate to helping his brother fill out a form on the internet.
Kurdistan Solidarity Network (KSN), Plan C and the Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL) have been campaigning for the charges against Dan, Paul and Sam to be dropped, and for Dan to be freed.
Sophie harper, a spokesperson from KSN said:
“Dan Burke has been in prison on remand since December throughout the worst period of the coronavirus pandemic. His incarceration could easily have amounted to a death sentence.
The British government needs to stop its criminalisation of YPG/YPJ volunteers, and those who support them. The Peoples’ and Womens’ Defence forces of the revolution in Northeast Syria (Rojava) have been the deciding factor in the territorial defeat of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), and have helped prevent more massacres and genocide from taking place in North-East Syria and northern Iraq.
Thousands of people from all over the world have risked their lives to join the struggle against fascism in Northeast Syria. Their achievements should be celebrated, not criminalised.
KSN join with the Kurdish Women’s Movement, and the countless voices coming out of the US uprising againstpolice violence and white supremacy, in calling for us all to envision a world without the violence and oppression of the prison system.”
A Plan C member commented:
“We’re proud to have supported Dan Burke and Paul and Sam Newey during the British state’s latest attempt to criminalise internationalism as terrorism. Volunteers in North-East Syria stand in a long tradition of internationalists giving practical solidarity to liberation movements, and their actions have created meaningful connections between social movements for democracy and a free life across the world. It is the responsibility of political organisations with these same aims to support this work however possible.
Whether in civil structures or self-defence forces, internationalists like Dan have contributed not only to Daesh’s territorial defeat – with more than fifty giving their lives, including eight UK residents – they have also helped ensure the survival of a democratic, multi-ethnic, ecological and feminist system of self-administration based on a growing cooperative economy, built in the midst of civil war. Offering solutions to the multiple crises we see spreading across the world, everyone should be learning as much as they can from the Kurdish Freedom Movement’s politics and their practical application in North-East Syria.
Instead the British state and others across the world are criminalising this movement, and attempt to prosecute those standing in solidarity with it. So we welcome today’s decision to drop such absurd charges. We will not stop campaigning until all forms of criminalisation have come to an end.”
Dani Ellis, an internationalist volunteer in Northeast Syria said:
“As British volunteers in Rojava (North and East Syria) we are delighted the charges against Daniel Burke and the family of Dan Newey have been dropped. These politically-motivated prosecutions now join many failed cases the CPS have levied against British citizens for volunteering with the YPG, YPJ and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), indispensable allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
These volunteers have risked everything to defend a beacon of peace and democracy in a region consumed by 10 years of civil war driven by the Syrian regime, ISIS and the fascist Turkish state. Eight Brits have sacrificed their lives fighting ISIS and Turkish attacks against the Kurds.
Daniel Burke spent seven months imprisoned without trial, alongside convicted members of the same terror groups he was fighting against – directly supported by the British Armed Forces. Paul and Sam Newey were subject to dawn raids, repeated interrogations, and smeared as terror supporters by the police and CPS.
Both civilian and military volunteers in Rojava are targeted by the British state without ever being formally charged. Their passports are confiscated for years, their movements and political activities monitored, and they are routinely detained and questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.
Despite the enormous sacrifices made by the YPG, YPJ and SDF to defeat ISIS, the British state’s use of terror legislation against British volunteers smears the Kurdish-led force itself as a terror organisation. Targeting civil volunteers in Rojava is an attack against the region’s unique democratic, feminist and ecological political system.
Fighting for a better world should never be criminalized. We will continue to stand up to the regressive measures we and our friends are subjected to, and fight back against the criminalisation of a region and a people who not only rid the world of ISIS, but are building an alternative system the whole world can learn from.
Ellis was speaking on behalf of all the British internationalists in Northeast Syria.”
Kevin Blowe from NETPOL said:
“While it’s great news the charges in this case have been dropped, this case should never have been prosecuted in the first place. An innocent man has spent months on remand, and others have lived with the stress of imprisonment and serious charges hanging over them.
Travelling to, or supporting those who travel to, Rojava is solidarity, not terrorism. These abusive charges will, however, come as little surprise to the Kurdish community in Britain. They are regularly targeted as terrorists for their support for the Kurdish freedom movement.
The British state needs to stop using flimsy or non-existent evidence to target marginalised communities and campaigners who offer support to them”
For background information about the repression against Paul and Sam see –https://kurdishsolidaritynetwork.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/some-background-about-the-repression-of-paul-and-sam-newey/