Christian campaigner jailed after Iraq protest

By staff writers
January 22, 2007

A Christian campaigner has been sent to prison for refusing to pay a fine arising from a demonstration against the invasion of Iraq.

Chris Cole was jailed today for refusing to pay a fine of £661 arising from an anti-war action at the Ministry of Defence on Holy Innocents Day, 28th December 2004.

Cole was part of a small group which took the action. When they were arrested, Scott Albrecht and Liz Yates had been digging graves, with a child's coffin ready to be placed in one. Chris Cole and Fr Martin Newell had begun to inscribe a wall as a memorial with the words "Remember Iraqi War Dead", "Slaughter of the Innocent" and "Stop the War" in red paint. "Father Forgive Us" was also written on the ground.

Prayers of repentance and remembrance were also said.

The four were eventually convicted of criminal damage.

Eyewitness accounts report that at the court Cole was very clear with the court that the protest was an act of resistance to the war in Iraq.

Speaking on behalf of the protestors, Chris Cole had previously said “2,000 years ago the innocent were massacred in an attempt to keep the powerful secure. Today, the powerful continue to massacre the innocent with the same motives. There can be no innocent bystanders – we must do what we can to defend the poor and vulnerable.”

He said he could not in conscience pay the fine. He also stated that it was reasonable for him to undertake the action, because the MOD institutions and buildings do not enhance life, instead they killed, maimed and injured.

Cole was sentenced by the female magistrate to 28 days.

Due to the current overcrowding of prisons, the magistrates court could not specify where Cole was going to be jailed.

Cole is expected to be released on 5th February.

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