Drop the charges! Partial victory for Urewera 4 defendants

Chalking at Queer Avengers protest against media bigotry

On the 20th of March, the jury finally reached a verdict on firearms charges for the remaining 4 Urewera defendants. All were found guilty and not-guilty of a range of firearms charges. There was no resolution to the far more serious charge of belonging to an organised criminal group – on evidence that was gathered under “Terrorism” laws, with no terrorism charges laid.

Under various charges, and at diminishing returns for the Crown, the Urewera defendants have been harrassed under successive Labour and National governments. A press release by the October 15th Solidarity Group noted the bungling inconsistency of the Crown’s attack, and went on to explain the political basis of it, quoting Valerie Morse whose charges were dropped last year:

Operation 8 was a multimillion dollar police operation designed to harass Tuhoe and political activists. After six years, the crown has secured a few firearms convictions based on illegal evidence. This whole episode reveals the sad face of a racist country determined to quash Maori aspirations for sovereignty.

“We will fight for the freedom of our comrades. We will not cease. Ever. Ka whawhai tonu matou. Ake! Ake! Ake!

We must recognise the injustice of the Crown’s attack on Tuhoe self-determination, and their Orwellian decision to legalise their own actions in retrospect. The Workers Party and other supporters have actively opposed Operation 8 since October 15th 2007. We demand that the Crown drop all remaining charges, and oppose all further attacks on the right to self-determination.

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