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Activist charged with conspiracy to blackmail for threatening hunger strike

A PALESTINE solidarity activist has been charged with conspiracy to blackmail for threatening to go on hunger strike. 

Palestine Action co-founder Richard Barnard was charged on Tuesday at London’s Charing Cross police station after being arrested earlier this year. 

The charge was based on “unwarranted demands by letters and emails sent to Lasalle Ltd” by Palestine Action. 

Protests by the group have repeatedly targeted the offices of LaSalle Investment Management, which owns the London headquarters of Israeli arms giant Elbit Systems. 

Last year, Mr Barnard threatened to go on a hunger strike if LaSalle refused to evict Elbit from the property.  

Palestine Action argued that the “spurious charges” showed the “desperate tactics the police will employ” to “silence and obstruct protesters.” 

Co-founder Huda Ammori said: “This is not blackmail. This is asking for companies to abide by international law and human rights conventions.”

Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private arms company, has been accused of aiding war crimes following the Israeli military’s use of its drones to attack residential areas of the Gaza Strip. 

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