>Two people arrested at the first FITWATCH action will be on trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on the 9th October 2007. All supporters welcome!
This trial will be the first test of whether FIT teams have a legal right to intimidate, harrass, photograph and compile data on people attending political meetings.
The two defendants are accused of obstructing the police in the execution of their duty. They approached a FIT team that was filming people attending a DSEi meeting in Malet Street back in April. Having asked the police to stop photographing people who did not wish to be photographed, the two then held up cardboard placards in front of the police camera, obstructing it’s view.
Instead of doing the reasonable thing and respecting people’s privacy, the police used physical force to keep the activists away from the camera, and then arrested both of them for obstruct police. They said that they feared for the photographers safety, although they did not explain how he could possibly have been injured by a thin peice of cardboard held a foot away from the front of his camera lens.
One of the defendants has challenged the FIT to justify their habit of arbitrarily photographing and harassing people. “There is no legal justification for compiling data on people attending a political meeting,” she said. “We are not supposed to be living in a totalitarian society where police can hold data on people just because of their political views.”
“We have also asked FIT to disclose in court exactly what it does with the data it collects. At the moment it is far from clear what happens to the thousands of photographs and pages of notes that the FIT produces, and people should at the very least have the right to know what happens to that data.”
The trial starts at 10am on the 9th Oct. The defendants will be interested to see whether a FIT team will be on duty outside….