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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

London Olympic Torch Protester appeared in court to face charges

July 12, 2008

Tsering Passang
July 10, 2008

Martin Wyness, a human rights and environmental activist, appeared in
West London Magistrates and County Court this morning to face charges
under section 4a (1) and (5) of the Public Order Act 1986, for
peacefully attempting to put out the Olympic Torch with a fire extinguisher.

The incident happened during the London leg of Beijing Olympic Torch
relay on 6th April, which drew thousands of Tibet and human rights
protesters. Martin was joined by his elder daughter Sophie and some
20 Tibetans and their supporters living in London in the court, who
listened to the judge's directions hearing from the public gallery.

Although the judge didn't give her verdict on Martin's case in the
court this morning but his temporary ban on travelling around London
and M25 boundary has now being relaxed. However, Martin still cannot
enter into central London, bordering from the London Underground's
Circle Line. This could mean that Martin keeps distance from the
foreign embassies including the Chinese Embassy.

Martin will attend his court trial on 29th September 2008 at 9.30 am.
After the court hearing today, Martin was greeted by the Tibetans and
offered traditional scarf, and thanked for his "non-violent direct
action to draw attention to the plight of Tibetan issue as well as
human rights abuses across China."

Martin said, "Even though many British people did not attend the
torch relay to protest, the strength of feeling, support and sympathy
for the Tibetan people in this country is immense. It is an honour to
be able to help in this small way."

Phurbu Rinzin, a university student in London said, "Martin has
dedicated his time for highlighting human rights abuses, animal
rights and environment protection in the world. I and my friends are
extremely grateful and appreciative of his non-violent direct action
during the Olympic torch relay in London, whereby Chinese brutalities
in Tibet and general lack of human rights inside China are
highlighted in the eyes of the world. It is a phenomenal individual
efforts calling for justice for Tibet and millions inside China,
where the suppression of basic rights and freedom are perpetual state norms.”

The Tibetan student further added, "Martin's protest has not caused
any injury to people, let alone to the aggressive Chinese security
men in blue tracksuits. It is a mockery of the British justice system
having to charge and call Martin in the court for exercising his
right to protest. We honour him and draw inspiration from his actions
and would hope that Martin would be cleared of all the charges."

Like so many people around the world, Martin acted because he was
appalled at the Chinese Government's continuing oppression of the
Tibetan people and other minorities in China. This is the first and
possibly only British court appearance related to the protests
surrounding the Olympic Torch. Tibetans and their supporters vowed to
return back on 29th September to show their support to Martin whom
they regard as a “hero”, who speaks on behalf of millions of
people in Tibet and China through his "direct non-violent action."
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