October 15th Solidarity: On the start of the defence case

Press Release – October 15th Solidarity

On the day of the start of the defence case in the Urewera 4 trial, the October 15th Solidarity group extends our unconditional solidarity to Urs Signer, Emily Bailey, Rangi Kemara, and Taame Iti in their struggle against the crown and police in this …October 15th Solidarity: On the start of the defence case

6 March 2012

“On the day of the start of the defence case in the Urewera 4 trial, the October 15th Solidarity group extends our unconditional solidarity to Urs Signer, Emily Bailey, Rangi Kemara, and Taame Iti in their struggle against the crown and police in this sham legal proceeding. We extend our love and solidarity in particular to the family of Tuhoe Lambert who died while waiting for justice in this case” said October 15th Solidarity spokesperson Ana Cocker.

“The crown prosecutor opened his case with the bold sweeping lie that erased much of New Zealand history: ‘We don’t prosecute people in New Zealand for their political beliefs’, he said. He conveniently forgot the 1881 invasion of Parihaka and the people taken prisoner for resisting the theft of their lands; the 1866 hunting of Te Kooti and the banishment of him and his followers to the Chatham Islands without trial; the 1916 police invasion of Tuhoe village of Maungapohatu resulting in the arrest of Rua Kenana for trumped up charges because he was telling people not to go to war; the hundreds of arrests and imprisonment of conscientious objectors during both WW1 and WW2; the many people who were imprisoned during the watersider workers lockout in 1951; the thousands of people who were arrested in protests against the racist 1981 Springbok tour, the 200+ arrests at Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) of people for demanding Ngati Whatua land be returned, and the list goes on and on. This case sits squarely within a on-going history of political prosecutions and political trials.”

“The people on trial here have the courage to stand up to a long history of racist state violence. They have the courage to demand what is right and just: tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake for all iwi and hapu in Aotearoa.

“For nearly five years now, the crown and police have tried every trick in the book to secure convictions in this case. First they tried to stick the ‘terrorist’ label on. Then they leaked all the inadmissible evidence to the media. Then they tried to deny the defendants a jury. They now continue to push the case using evidence which was deemed unlawful and a breach of human rights by the Supreme Court. Finally, they casually deny any political motives to the case and say that everybody in Ruatoki was fine with the paramilitary invasion the police carried out on 15 October 2007.”

“Whatever the outcome of the trial, we support the right of indigenous people around the globe, and Maori in this context, to use whatever means necessary to secure their genuine self-determination and the return of their stolen lands and resources.”

ENDS

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