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Urewera Four – justice denied | Hone Harawira
Statement from Hone Harawira
Four years ago armed offenders stormed the homes of innocent families, broke down doors, smashed windows, overturned furniture, forced people to their knees in front of their children, refused them access to water and even the right to go to the toilet, degraded and dehumanised civilians, set up armed barricades, stopped traffic, boarded köhanga reo busses, scared the crap out of little kids … and gave Tuhoe another reason to hate the forces of the state.
People all over the country were charged with terrorism and although those charges were thrown out, the state followed up with new charges because they’d already spent millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours on a botched operation and they had to justify their malicious and illegal actions of October 15 2007.
Yesterday should have been about the triumph of justice, but it wasn’t. All we got a sad and sorry end to a tragic raid into the heartland of the Tuhoe because after all the drama, the high expectation and grainy videos, yesterday the jury could only return guilty verdicts on firearms charges. That’s all we got after a four year campaign that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, divided the nation, and gave people genuine reason to fear the police.
Because today, justice is still denied to the people of Tuhoe.
Today the case may finally be over but not for the people of Tuhoe. There has been no apology, no compensation, no change in police operations and no new engagement policy initiated as a result of the litany of errors we now know as Operation 8.
Today we remember those who have passed on since 2007. Today we remember the pain and suffering brought upon the people of Tuhoe by the state … again.
Today I commit the energy and the support of the MANA Movement to standing against those who would use the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Search and Surveillance Bill to crush independent thinking, to force us to fear what we say and to hide what we do and to stop us from choosing freedom over oppression.
And today I salute Tame Iti and his comrades for their dignity, for their courage, for their passion and for their love for this land.
For further comment please contact Malcolm Mulholland on 027 765 6380