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Charges dropped against prominent Bahraini activist

We’re delighted to say that the prosecution against prominent Bahraini activist, Isa Al Aali, who was arrested at last summer’s Farnborough arms fair protests, has been discontinued after the Crown Prosecution Service accepted that there was ‘not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction’.

activists stand with a stop the arms fair banner outside court to support Isa Al Aali

Isa was due to appear in court on January 16th, but after representations by Bindmans LLP, the CPS agreed to drop all charges. You can read a full report on the case on the Bindmans blog.

Activists on trial for trying to stop the DSEI arms fair

This week activists are on trial for taking action against the DSEI arms fair last September.

Yesterday, three of the defendants presented their case. All of them spoke at length about why they felt their actions against DSEI were necessary in order to prevent greater crimes.

Activists with a 'Stop Arming Israel' banner and waving Palestinian flags stand on an armoured vehicle

Activists blockade an armoured vehicle from entering the Excel Centre

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Resisting police militarisation: shut down ‘Security and Policing’

Last night I joined activists from several groups including the Network for Police Monitoring, Global Justice Now, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, London Mexico Solidarity, London Campaign Against Arms Trade and Stop the Arms Fair for a protest outside the Home Office to call for an end to the ‘Security and Policing’ arms fair.

Candles in jam jars in front of a 'Human Crisis Your Profits' placard

Photo by Sophie Mawson

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Take action: Help Maryam

The repressive Bahraini government continues to abuse human rights and crack down on democracy protests. The UK has a close relationship with Bahrain but has failed to speak out about its human rights violations – instead it has prioritised trying to secure more arms sales to this authoritarian regime. We urgently need it to speak out now.

Maryam Al Khawaja is an inspiring human rights defender, who has fought tirelessly for justice for others. Now she needs our help.

Maryam Al Khawaja

CAAT took action with Maryam in May this year, forcing Prince Andrew to withdraw from a London conference which aimed to whitewash the abuses of the Bahraini government.

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Let’s talk about ‘legitimacy’, Science Museum

The Science Museum justified its plans to host a ‘welcome reception’ for arms dealers from Farnborough International by telling us that Farnborough International was a ‘legitimate organisation’.

So I went to Farnborough this week and saw what ‘legitimate’ looks like.

It was the most surreal and chilling day I have ever experienced. But for the arms dealers and military buyers attending, it was just business as usual.

I stood by the glossy stands of Israeli arms companies, promoting ‘battle-tested’ weaponry with slick videos of missile strikes and drone attacks, while outside, in the real world, the death toll in Gaza mounted.

Elbit stand at Farnborough 2014

Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems at Farnborough 2014.

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Royal help for BAE

Picture of Prince Andrew in military uniform

Prince Andrew: Royal help for BAE

Prince Andrew is in action right now, propping up dictators and BAE’s weapons sales. He’s not alone: senior Ministers, members of the RAF and civil servants are all at the Bahrain International Airshow helping promote BAE’s Typhoon warplanes to Bahrain’s dictators.

King Hamad of Bahrain has overseen a brutal crackdown on his own people. Those who speak up for democratic reform face being tortured and locked up, or sent into exile.

Bahrain has no military need for BAE’s Typhoons, but it does have a political need: it knows that buying UK weapons can also buy UK silence on Bahrain’s human rights abuses.

> Please take action: the UK must support human rights not repression.

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You’ve helped us achieve a great start to 2014

Stop The Shipment campaign succeeds as South Korea ends tear gas sales to Bahrain

The Stop The Shipment campaign was launched in October to prevent a massive shipment of over 1.6 million rounds of tear gas from South Korea to Bahrain. CAAT supporters worked with Bahraini and South Korean activists to put pressure on the authorities to stop the deal.

Now DAPA, South Korea’s arms export licensing agency, has announced that due to political instability and pressure from international rights groups they are going to cease all tear gas exports to the Bahraini dictatorship. This is a major victory and is thanks to everyone who supported the campaign.

2013-10-31 Stop the shipment action

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The ‘arms for dictators’ scandal isn’t new. It is cross-party, well-established and has been going on for too long

The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign government. This scene comes from  the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.

The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign governments. This scene comes from the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.

The fringe issue of arms export criteria became headline news today (17 July),  with The Independent’s splash on an “‘arms for dictators” scandal. A parliamentary report by the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) raised a few eyebrows, but the embarrassment of the government approving arms sales to 25 out of 27 of the countries blacklisted as human rights abusers will soon vanish.

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Tear gas suppliers at London’s arms fair

British made tear gas used in Egypt- photo by Omar Robert Hamilton

British made tear gas used in Egypt- photo by Omar Robert Hamilton

This September’s DSEI arms fair will once again give authoritarian governments and dictatorships the opportunity to stock up on what is fast becoming the weapon of choice for repressive regimes- tear gas.

Some of the world’s leading suppliers of tear gas will be exhibiting, including British arms company Chemring, Brazil’s Condor, the US firm Non-Lethal Technologies and the joint German and South African-owned company Rheinmetall.

Tear gas made by these companies has recently been used to help crush protests in Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey and Brazil.

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UK arming Bahrain as violence continues


On this day, two years ago, a group of Bahraini citizens gathered at the “Pearl Roundabout” to call for democratic freedoms and equal rights for the majority Shia population. They were part of the “Arab Spring”, the wave of protests that swept the region in 2011.

The ruling regime responded with violence. Peaceful protesters were met with bullets and teargas. Some of the weapons used by the police and military came from the UK.

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