Greenpeace claim victory over Iraq war protest
17 May 2005, CADIZ — A Greenpeace activist who staged a protest against the Iraq war at a Spanish naval base has been jailed for six months while three others were acquitted.
17 May 2005
CADIZ — A Greenpeace activist who staged a protest against the Iraq war at a Spanish naval base has been jailed for six months while three others were acquitted.
Another activist has been fined for civil disobedience and three others have been acquitted after a trial in Cadiz in southern Spain.
But the sentences were seen as in keeping with the largely peaceful protests by activists and government ministers alike.
Two Spaniards, an American, a New Zealander and an Argentinean faced prison sentences of between nine months and three years in connection with the Rainbow Warrior's 'symbolic blockade' of the joint US-Spanish naval base at Rota last year during the Iraq war.
All the accused denied the charges, which included resisting arrest, disobedience and, in one case, causing injury to the civil guard who boarded the vessel in March 2003.
Greenpeace accused Spain of overreacting to the protest, which saw the Rainbow Warrior sail into the mouth of Rota's port.
More than 84,000 people signed a petition asking to be sent to jail alongside the activists if they were convicted.
Argentinean Daniel Rizzotti, the former captain of the Rainbow Warrior, was jailed after being convicted of civil disobedience, injuring a police officer and resisting arrest.
The jail sentence could be revoked on appeal.
New Zealander Phillip Lloyd was fined EUR 600 for injuring a police officer who boarded the ship and resisting arrest.
Spaniard Carlos Bravos, American Martin Lawrence and Spaniard María Teresa Ambros, who were accused of 'disobedience', were all cleared.
Juan Lopez de Uralde, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "The sentence is more in keeping with the facts than the disproportionate jail terms demanded by the prosecution."
Spain's Socialist environment minister Cristina Carbona said she was pleased to hear three of the activists had been cleared and called the jail terms which the prosecution had demanded "completely exaggerated".
The protest proved popular as opinion polls at the time said 85 percent of Spaniards were against the war in Iraq.
The war was backed by the conservative Popular Party government of the then prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, which was ousted by the Socialists 14 months ago.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news