UK protesters spared jail over bid to stop deportation plane


LONDON (AP) — Fifteen protesters who locked themselves together around a plane at London’s Stansted Airport to stop migrants from being deported have been spared prison sentences.

The demonstrators were found guilty in December of breaching aviation security law.

Judge Christopher Morgan told them Wednesday there could have been “catastrophic effects” if any debris had been left on the runway from the March 2017 protest. He gave three protesters suspended jail terms and sentenced 12 others to community service.

Supporters of the demonstrators criticized the use of a terrorism-related charge that carries a maximum life sentence for the protesters.

U.N. human rights experts said they were “concerned about the application of disproportional charges for what appears to be the exercise of the rights to peaceful and non-violent protest and freedom of expression.”

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