Peace tax campaigners turned down by UK judge

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Friday, July 22, 2005

The Peace Tax Seven, who are campaigning to have the 10 per cent of their taxes which go to Britain’s defence budget diverted to non-military uses, have had their case rejected by a High Court judge.

The judicial review was called for under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom ‘to manifest one’s religion or beliefs’ and which was made a part of British law in 1998. The Convention includes the right to conscientious objection and the campaigners claim that this gives them the right not to pay other people to go to war on their behalf.

Their statement to the court said: “We want to make a positive contribution to society by paying our tax in full. We object in conscience to paying others to kill on our behalf, but current tax policy forces us to do just that.”

The courtroom had to be enlarged to make room for supporters and the judge listened to the case for three hours.

Roy Prockter, an accountant and campaign member as well as a Quaker, said that the judge told them that “our case has no possibility of being resolved in the British courts”. According to the Guardian, the judge suggested they take the case to Strasbourg. Roy said that the members were going to take time for reflection as they awaited the written judgment from the judge.

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