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Anti-war protestors challenge police over human rights

A man from East Finchley is among a group of anti-war protestors having its case heard at the House of Lords, this week.

Jesse Schust, 34, of Ossulton Way, East Finchley, was one of the campaigners on a coach travelling to a demonstration at RAF Fairford on March 22 2003, two days after British and American forces launched their attacks on Iraq.

Gloucestershire Police stopped and searched the coach before turning it back and escorting it to London, fearing a breach of the peace.

Mr Schust was a founding member of the action group, created a week after the event, which has been seeking a judicial review of the police's actions.

Since 2003, the group has grown from 20 to 127 members.

He said: "Although many of us did not know each other when we first demonstrated, we have formed really strong bonds since we have come together to fight injustice."

The protesters, who felt that their human rights had been infringed, took their case to the High Court, where neither side won a clear victory.

Following an appeal by both parties, the case has been taken to the House of Lords, the highest court in the country.

Mr Schust said: "I was glad that the Court of Appeal in 2004 agreed with us that the police had acted unlawfully by detaining us on their coaches but was really unhappy the court ruled that the police did not violate our rights to freedom of movement and right to demonstrate. This was the reason to carry the review forward.

"If we hadn't challenged the police it would enshrine in law the very draconian police powers which would interfere with our human rights."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: "We feel it would be inappropriate to comment whilst the case is ongoing."

A result is expected at the end of the year, following the House of Lords appeal hearing.



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