Geldof and Colman are urging the Home Office to reconsider the deportation of a climate activist.
Prominent entertainers such as Bob Geldof, Olivia Colman, and Emma Thompson are urging the Home Office to reassess the “severe deportation” of a climate activist who is currently serving one of the lengthiest jail terms in recent British history for nonviolent demonstration.
Together with Brian Eno and Jacob Collier, they are part of a group of approximately 600 artists calling on James Cleverly to rescind the deportation order for Marcus Decker.
Decker was sentenced to 2 years and 7 months in jail for participating in a protest where he climbed the Queen Elizabeth Bridge over the Dartford Crossing and revealed a banner that read “Just Stop Oil” in October of 2022.
Decker, a German citizen, received a deportation order from the Home Office while incarcerated.
The British government faced criticism this week from UN special rapporteur on environmental defenders, Michel Forst. He expressed concern that the harsh measures taken against environmental protests were stifling basic freedoms.
The actors stated in their letter that deporting Decker and adding to his 14 months of imprisonment is an excessive punishment for his crime and not beneficial for society.
According to reports, the demonstration organized by Decker was nonviolent and did not result in any injuries. The protest only lasted for less than 48 hours.
In January of this year, the police shut down the Dartford Crossing and the Dartford Tunnel due to hazardous weather, resulting in significant disruptions. This severe weather is expected to occur more frequently as climate change continues to worsen.
Marcus participated in this action in order to avoid causing extreme chaos and hardship.
The statement of Forst was echoed by their words, stating that climate activists are working for the greater good and deserve protection.
Over 150,000 individuals have expressed their opposition to Decker’s deportation by signing a petition.
The message states: “We strongly encourage you to contemplate the potential impact on the global community if the UK, known for its leadership in addressing climate change, were to begin expelling individuals advocating for human rights such as Marcus.”
Holly Cullen-Davies, a musician and Decker’s partner, stated that he intends to challenge his deportation through legal means after he is released from prison. It is anticipated that he will be released in the near future.
Decker’s comrade, Morgan Trowland, was sentenced to three years in prison but was released in December.
Cullen-Davies stated that deporting Marcus is not only the harshest consequence for him, but also for our family. This is in addition to already serving one of the longest prison terms for a climate activist, making it a double punishment. As we anxiously await his release, Marcus remains composed, but the idea of being deported is unbearable and unimaginable for all of us. If it were to happen, I’m not sure how we would cope.
My message to the government is that you cannot expel opposing viewpoints or the issue of climate change.
Cullen-Davies explained that she had to stop a majority of her job in order to advocate against her partner’s deportation. She is currently depending on contributions from environmental activists to support herself financially.
Decker has filed a legal challenge to the deportation order, so it is unlikely that he will be immediately deported upon his release.
The message is in line with a comparable request made to the Secretary of State by a large group of researchers, such as James Dyke, who is an associate professor of Earth system science and the assistant director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, and Julia K Steinberger, who is a professor of ecological economics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Initially, the United Nations rapporteur, operating within the guidelines of the Aarhus convention, is collecting proof of what he described as a concerning crackdown on demonstrators advocating for climate change. He is also deliberating on potential measures to address this issue. As a country that has agreed to the treaty, the UK government may potentially be found guilty of violating it once the investigations are concluded.