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Urewera Raids Public Meeting

Urewera Raids Public Meeting

The October 15th Solidarity group is hosting a public meeting about one of the most important political court cases to happen in this country, the “terror raids” - on Friday, 3 February, at 6pm in the Mezzanine Meeting Room of the Central Library, Wellington. It will be an opportunity for people to update themselves about the trial which is due to begin in the Auckland High Court on 13 February, to find out what the issues are relating to Tuhoe's history with the Crown, and the coverage of the case by the media.

Four and a half years after armed police locked down the entire Rtoki Valley, raided over 60 houses around the country, and arrested 17 people (later four more were arrested) - four people must defend themselves in court against a charge of 'participating in an organised criminal group' and Arms Act charges. They are the only remaining defendants.

"This has been a blatant attack on Tuhoe aspirations for mana motuhake and on progressive political dissent from the beginning," said Anna Cocker. "The court case of the last four people is nothing but an attempt by the state to save face. After millions of dollars, years of surveillance, racist policing and law changes to retrospectively legalise police activities, this is a last ditch attempt. They will not succeed. The others had their charges dismissed, and the same should happen with these four people."

"At one stage the number of defendants was up to 20, now it is down to four. The police and crown know they are losing. Once the trial commences, the crown and police will wage a propaganda war to paint these four people in the worst possible light. They will be trying to hide police incompetence and state
racism."

People should not forget that after the brutal raids on 15th October 2007, 16 people were detained in prison on minor firearm possession charges. Charges under the Terrorism Supression Act against 12 of them could not be brought after the Solicitor General stated there was ?insufficient evidence?. All people were released on bail. Over the next few months the police arrested four more people. In 2011 one of the defendants died.

Then on 6th September 2011 all charges against 13 of the remaining defendants were dropped. And in October 2011 a law change was rushed through parliament to make legal illegal police surveillance tactics. "It has been a long 4 and a half years," said Anna Cocker. "But we must keep fighting and this meeting is a chance for people to keep informed about the truth behind the raids."

ENDS


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