Peace activist Maya is jailed over peace protest

Maya Evans outside Hastings Magistrates Court with her supporters
Maya Evans outside Hastings Magistrates Court with her supporters

A PEACE activist has been jailed for her part in an anti-war protest.

Maya Evans, 32, of Carisbrooke Road, St Leonards was sent to prison for 13 days by Hastings magistrates on Wednesday for non-payment of more than £300 in fines and costs, stemming from a court case in November 2009.

She was arrested in May that year for taking part in a non-violent protest called Die-in for NATO’s Victims in Afghanistan outside Britain’s military nerve centre at Northwood, and later convicted of ‘obstructing the highway’.

The demonstration, to mark the 2nd anniversary of a NATO bombing attack that killed 47 Afghan civilians, was held to demand an end to the bombing of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of British troops from the country.

Evans refused to pay the fines on the grounds of conscience, saying she did not view her part in the demonstration as a crime.

The peace campaigner returned last month after a month-long visit to Afghanistan over the Christmas and New Year period where she worked with Afghan peace activists, met with refugees, human rights workers and the relative of a civilian killed in an unmanned ‘drone’ strike.

In 2005 she was convicted for reading the names of the Iraq war dead opposite the Cenotaph without police permission, and in 2010 she won ‘a partial victory’ in the High Court, regarding British complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees.

Before she was sentenced on Wednesday, Evans said: “In Afghanistan I met a young man whose sister had been left widowed, with an infant son, by a NATO airstrike that killed five civilians.

“Meeting the victims of US and British policies has only strengthened my conviction that we need to terminate Britain’s role in this senseless and bloody war.

“Afghan peace campaigners urged me to do all I can to stop British involvement in their country. It is all of our responsibility to campaign against the death of innocent Afghan civilians and to pressurise our Government.”