Andy Newman


 Protesters against war tax are to put their case for the first time in a British court. The hearing is scheduled for March 1st 2006 (possibly 2nd) - by chance, almost exactly 90 years after conscientious objection was first introduced.

 Lawyers for the Peace Tax Seven will state the case in a one-day hearing in the Appeal Court. They renewed the appeal after the High Court rejected the case, without a full hearing, in July 2005. If this ground-breaking application is now successful, it will establish the rights of conscientious objectors to military taxation. If unsuccessful, it will open the way to a European Court hearing in Strasbourg.

 After years (or decades) protesting as individuals, the Peace Tax Seven including a religious studies teacher, an accountant, a businessman, a psychiatrist and a lecturer came together in 2004 to bring a case under the 1998 Human Rights Act. They comprise four Quakers, an Anglican, a Buddhist, and a non-aligned Christian. They are based in Oxford, Hereford, Manchester, Wiltshire, Clacton, North Wales and Sheffield. With other protesters, they have faced fines, prosecution, bailiffs, and threats of imprisonment. Conscientious objection was first enshrined in British law in the conscription acts of January and April 1916. The Peace Tax Seven are supported by Conscience, which campaigns for the rights of conscientious objectors to military taxation. On 2nd March, immediately after the hearing, Conscience will launch their PeacePays website and campaign, publicising non-violent and non-military security alternatives to military spending.




March 2006

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