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Civil action served on US military personel and US Air Force

peacemonkey | 15.01.2002 19:11

Press release by Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases.

A civil action has been served on two United States military servicemen and the United States Air Force after an application to the Central London County Court ordered that service of the Claim by the Court was granted.

Lindis Percy (Co-Coordinator with Anni Rainbow of the CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES - CAAB) alleges that she was assaulted, battered and unlawfully detained in August 1995 by Kevin Moore and Thomas Burnside on a public road outside USAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

Ms Percy made a citizen's arrest on Thomas Burnside (carrying a gun) who had been following her and Ms Rainbow on his bike.  Following this incident Ms Percy was handcuffed, thrown to the ground and held face down on the side of the public road.  She was dragged by the US servicemen and forced into a waiting US 'police' car inside the base.  She was strapped into the back seat of the car while Thomas Burnside sat with his arm across her throat.  Ms Percy was later arrested by Mildenhall police who had been called by the US authorities for alleged 'theft' of the bike.  She was later charged with 'theft' of the bike.
Criminal charges were changed five times until the case eventually came to Mildenhall Magistrates' Court in 1996. Ms Percy faced offences of alleged assault, theft of the bike and other minor charges.

Ms Percy was aquitted at Mildenhall Magistrates' Court of all charges by Howard Riddle (Stipendary Magistrate) who commented in relation to the actions of the US servicemen that "the level, duress and duration of the violence used against Ms Percy was shocking".

The incident was video recorded by US servicemen and shown to the Court. However the specific incident when Ms Percy was assaulted was 'blacked out' by the US authorities.  On the video the US servicemen admitted that they had 'no authority' on a public highway. The two servicemen have since left the United States Air Force.

Ms Percy said, "It has been a long struggle to bring this to court.  It was a disgraceful incident and those who were responsible must be accountable for their actions otherwise the US Visiting Forces can do what they like".

On 21 December 2001 Ms Percy had a conviction under the Public Order Act 1984 quashed by two High Court Judges in London.  Ms Percy was using the US flag with 'STOP STAR WARS' written across the flag in protest at the American base at the Deep Space Tracking Center and Near Space Facility at Feltwell in Norfolk.  Mrs Justice Hallett giving Judgement said "Flag denigration is a form of protest activity renowned the world over which has been afforded protection in other jurisdictions for example in the USA itself."

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