Remember October 15th: five years of terror
Monday, the 15th of October, marks five years since the Police paramilitary invasion of Tuhoe.
"Monday, the 15th of October, marks five years since the Police paramilitary invasion of Tuhoe. The police smashed their way into dozens of homes across the country and shut down the Ruatoki Valley in the Bay of Plenty, searching every car going to and from Ruatoki, entering a school bus with armed police, strip-searching children and barricading them in rooms for hours without food, water or family guardians while they searched houses and arrested political activists. Five years on, neither the Independent Police Conduct Authority nor the Human Rights Commission has released their report into the police's behaviour. For those of us affected by these raids and arrests, we will never forget what happened on that day" says Valerie Morse. 
"What started as an illegal spying operation in Te Urewera and state terrorism has found a temporary end in the High Court earlier this year with a handful of firearms convictions. Nonetheless, Taame Iti and Rangi Kemara are currently serving a 2.5 year jail term. Police used illegal warrants and illegal surveillance just like in Kim Dotcom's case. The police violated the rights of innocent bystanders in Ruatoki who were just going about their daily business. And just like Kim Dotcom, these arrests were partly motivated by a desire to appease the Americans. New Zealand police wanted catch their own 'terrorists' to show Uncle Sam that they were part of the 'war on terrorism' too."
"The state wanted to shut down aspirations for Maori sovereignty. For 150 years, armed police have been used to stop Maori asserting their rights. They did it to Hone Heke, Te Kooti, Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti and to Rua Kenana. In 2007, they did it to Tame Iti" says Emily Bailey. 
"Tame Iti has been a lifelong freedom fighter. He has long advocated the mana motuhake of Tuhoe. He is a leader to his people. He now sits in jail along with his comrade, Rangi Kemara. Both of these men are doing time not because of what they have done, but for who they are and what they represent. They represent the unwavering determination of Maori to secure their basic human rights: the return of the lands that sustain them and their right to mana motuhake."
"The appeal on convictions and sentences for the four of us who stood trial is currently before the Court of Appeal. We were convicted on illegally gathered evidence that should not have been allowed for the Arms Act charges, and then the judge essentially sentenced us on the charge we were not found guilty of. We are encouraging people to send messages of support and solidarity to Rangi (Springhill prison) and Taame (Waikeria prison) to remind them that there is huge community support. None of us are free, two of us are chained: Free Taame and Rangi!" says Urs Signer. 
 Valerie Morse was arrested in Wellington and spent four weeks in jail. Her charges were dropped in September 2011 after the Supreme Court ruled that the police spying was illegal.
 Emily Bailey was arrested in Wellington and spent four weeks in jail. At trial, she was convicted on six charges under the Arms Act and was sentenced to nine months home detention. The sentence is currently suspended.
 Urs Signer was arrested in Wellington and spent four weeks in jail. At trial, he was convicted on five charges under the Arms Act and was sentenced to nine months home detention. The sentence is currently suspended.
 PLEASE NOTE: Nobody was charged with terrorism. Media organisations should read this BSA decision: http://bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/4371