Ex-Lancaster University student and Stansted 15 avoid jail sentences

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A former Lancaster University student has escaped a jail sentence after previously being found guilty of terrorism charges.

Laura Clayson, 28, along with 14 other people - was given a 12-month community order at Chelmsford Crown Court on February 6 after previously being found guilty of endangering the safety of an aerodrome.

The group, which said they will appeal against their convictions, blocked a deportation flight from Stansted Airport in 2017 by chaining themselves to a plane to stop it deporting people to Africa. Dubbed the Stansted 15, they broke through a fence at the airport in a bid to reach the jet taking 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Ms Clayson, a former President of Lancaster University Student Union (LUSU), said earlier that the Home Office should be held to account for their actions.

In a statement, the Stansted 15 said: “These terror convictions and the ten-week trial that led to them are an injustice that has profound implications for our lives. The convictions will drastically limit our ability to work, travel and take part in everyday life. Yet, people seeking asylum in this country face worse than this: they are placed in destitution and their lives in limbo, by the Home Office’s vicious system every single day.”

“When a country uses draconian terror legislation against people for peaceful protest, snatches others from their homes in dawn raids, incarcerates them without time limit and forces them onto planes in the middle of the night, due to take them to places where their lives might be at risk, something is very seriously wrong. Every single one of us should be very worried about our democracy and our future.

“We demand that these convictions are quashed, and that the Government dismantles the vicious, barely legal, immigration system that destroys so many people’s lives.”