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19/10/03 . by Ian Brown . Indymedia UK . UK
Cardiff activists imprisoned following anti-McDonald's protest
Cardiff police admitted in court to beating Val Swain while she was handcuffed. The judge then sent her and a fellow protester to prison despite the fact that neither have any previous convictions and represent no threat to any member of the public.
In the early hours of Thursday, 16 October, Cardiff police arrested three people on Newport Road. After handcuffing all three detainees and securing them in a police van, officers removed Val Swain from the van and beat her on the legs with a telescopic truncheon. Several hours later police raided the suspects' houses removing anti-McDonald's leaflets.
In Cardiff magistrates court the following day, the arresting officer admitted in a statement that he had beaten Val in order "to change her thought processes".
The three are charged with criminal damage, conspiracy to commit criminal damage and assaulting police officers.
None of the detainees have ever been convicted of any criminal offence and all hold down responsible jobs. Despite this fact, the judge, who earlier in the day released on bail a man who had threatened to kill his neighbour, remanded Val Swain and Geoff Cornock in prison pending appearance in Cardiff Crown Court on 28 October. Unquestionably, the judge has denied the right of Val's three daughters (aged 13, 10 and 3) to the care of their mother. The judge had endangered not only Val's job, but also that of her partner and, by so doing, places the integrity of the family in jeopardy.
The imprisonment of the two people is wholly disproportionate to the alleged offences. The confiscation of the anti-McDonald's leaflets, the brutality shown by police officers and the imprisonment of the accused demonstrates the true motives of the police: the victimisation of those who protest.
Val Swain and Geoff Cornock are political prisoners, detained for challenging the power of the state and the transnationals.
Is this tolerable?
Geoff Cornock is being held at HMP Cardiff, 1 Knox Road, Cardiff CF24 0UV
Valerie Swain is being held at HMP Eastwood Park, Falfield, Wootton-Under-Edge, Gloucester, GL12 8DB