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Jury Finds Activist Not Guilty After They Dismantled Arconic

Action Was In Solidarity With Grenfell Victims And Palestine.

On Thursday 5th October 2023, a jury unanimously found an activist from Palestine Action, Sohail Sultan, not guilty of criminal damage against Arconic at the closing of a trial overseen by Judge S Ward at Wolverhampton Crown Court. They took 3 hours and 25 minutes to deliberate on whether the action taken which cost Arconic over £500K was done to protect property in Palestine and/or in necessity to save lives.

The verdict comes after the activist occupied the roof for two days and dismantled the site on the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell fire, in solidarity with the victims of the fire and the Palestine people [1]. During the action at Arconic Kitt’s Green Road, the local community mobilised on mass to support and the fire service refused to assist the police in removing Sohail from the roof.

Arconic manufactured and supplied the cladding and insulation system in the Grenfell Tower, which Fire Expert Witnesses have found “substantially to blame for the tragedy and that the panels were “the primary cause of upward vertical fire spread, downward vertical fire spread, and lateral fire spread”. 72 people were killed in the preventable fire.

On top of this unsafe cladding, Arconic manufactures components and materials for Boeing Apache Helicopters and Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter Jets [2]. Both of these are routinely deployed by the Israeli military in aerial assaults on Gaza, including in the May 2021 bombardments which killed 230 Palestinians including 65 children [3]. One of Arconic’s major shareholders – Elliot Investment Management – was founded by Paul Singer, who has funnelled money into Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the ‘friends of the IDF’, and anti-BDS organisations.

During the four day trial, Sohail Sultan, aged 21, stood by his actions and stated he had no regrets and when challenged by the prosecution, he said “It’s one thing to stand on the ground, wave a flag and hope it makes the news, it’s another to stand on a roof and stop the production of F-35 fighter jets that kill innocent people”.

The not guilty verdict was reached after the jury deliberated on whether or not Sohail’s action was taken to immediately protect property in Palestine and in necessity to save lives.

Sohail Sultan was represented by Hamish McCallum from Garden Court North Chambers, instructed by Lydia Dagostino from Kelly’s Solicitors.

In response to the verdict, Palestine Action says:

“A monumental victory not only for a principled actionist, but for the campaign against companies who profit from massacring people in Palestine and Grenfell. The verdict strongly suggests that the public agree it is Arconic who is guilty for their crimes in Palestine and Grenfell, not those who take action against them.”

Notes:

[1] https://www.palestineaction.org/grenfell-arconic/

[2] https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2018/12/10/the-grenfell-cladding-company-is-also-profiting-from-arms-sales/

[3] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israel-gaza-uk-arms-exports-airstrikes-b1851734.html

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