Magazine article New Internationalist

Bearing Witness to a Crime

Magazine article New Internationalist

Bearing Witness to a Crime

Article excerpt

'You had better examine your consciences,' Jon Castle told officials at the hastily convened British magistrates' court. He and fellow crew member Pete Bouquet, part of the'People's Navy', had been put on trial for entering the three-mile (five-kilometre) exclusion zone around Diego Garcia which forms part of the British Indian Ocean Territory and is home to a key US air and naval base.

The two British nationals, both lifelong environmental and human rights campaigners, had sailed 2,000 miles from Thailand aboard the recently renovated 12-metre sloop Musichana to highlight the plight of the 2,000 or so people who were forcibly removed from the Chagos Archipelago between 1968 and 1971 to make way for the military base. Bouquet and Castle said that they were motivated by the Quaker ideal that'you should bear witness to a crime, even if you cannot stop it happening'.

Castle, Musichana's skipper, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and fined £3,000 ($6,000). …

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