'Trade union leaders and nearly 200 members have condemned the decision to convict four anti-fracking activists, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent”.
In an open letter, they called for a judicial review of the “absurdly harsh” sentence given to the protesters, three of whom were handed jail sentences.
Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, were imprisoned for up to 16 months after clambering onto lorries bringing drilling equipment to a Cuadrilla site in Lancashire.
The fourth protestor, Julian Brock, 47 was given a 12-month prison term, suspended for 18 months.
Senior representatives from the National Education Union, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), the Food and Allied Workers Union and others expressed their concern that the decision would hamper people’s right to take non-violent action against threats to the environment.
“These are by far the longest prison sentences imposed on activists defending the environment since those jailed for the Mass Trespass in 1932,” they wrote.
“It can only be seen as politically motivated in support of a government that has shown it is prepared to ride roughshod over the democratic rights of citizens to achieve an end for which it has no popular support.”
The letter comes after another call for judicial review from hundreds of scientists who echoed the trade unionists’ concerns.'
Read more: Trade unions condemn ‘dangerous precedent’ set by jailing fracking protesters
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