In 2005 the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act was introduced by the labour Govt. This Law was trumpeted by politicians as an attempt to crackdown on crimes such as gangsterism, racketeering, people trafficking and sexual slavery, what it ended up as however was a crackdown on our right to organise and protest.
For a piece of legislation apparently designed to tackle some of the most heinous activities in our society it bizarrely contains a whole section specifically outlawing animal rights campaigning.
Sean Kirtley, an activist from Stop Sequani Labs in England became the first high profile victim of this Act receiving four and a half years (and a five year ASBO on release) for taking part in what even the police admitted was a peacefull protest against the Lab in 2007.
Sean released and last year after serving sixteen months the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction however a precedent has been set for authorities to legally pursue and arrest all those involved in animal rights campaigns.
To give an example of the gravity of this legislation one section makes provision for a five year sentence for writing letters or emails to firms, staff or researchers involved in animal experiments.
This Act is serious infringement of and interference in the fundamental right of protest, assembly and participation in campaigns.