Jailed Insulate Britain Protester On 13 Day Hunger Strike Moved To Hospital Wing
Insulate Britain protester Emma Smart is receiving hospital treatment in prison as a result of a 13-day hunger strike.
The 44-year-old biologist from Weymouth, in Dorset, was among nine climate change campaigners to be handed a prison sentence as a result of breaching a government injunction that tried to ban the group from blocking the M25 motorway.
Insulate Britain, which is protesting for the government to properly insulate all social housing, also demonstrated at other locations, such as the Port of Dover, Wandsworth Bridge, and outside parliament. However, on October 8, the group took to junction 25 of the M25 for the seventh time in three weeks, leading to charges being filed.
Upon receiving her sentence, Smart vowed to stop eating until the government committed to insulating the UK’s homes. However on Friday, November 26, on her thirteenth day, Smart was transferred to the prison’s hospital wing because of her ‘deteriorating’ health.
For their roles in the M25 demonstration on October 8, Smart and five others were given four months in prison, two other activists were given three months, and one was handed a six-month sentence. They were also ordered to pay costs of £5,000 each, Insulate Britain reports.
Today, Monday, November 29, Insulate Britain updated supporters via Twitter that Smart had been moved to the hospital wing as a result of her hunger strike.
The group said:
Emma, who has today been in prison on hunger strike for 13 days, was moved out of her cell onto the hospital wing at HMP Bronzefield on Friday. The prison is becoming increasingly concerned about her health.
Speaking from the hospital wing in the Surrey prison, Smart said how the window of her current cell is ‘blocked up and there is little natural light’. She also noted that she is not allowed as much time outside to exercise now.
‘All of this is testing my resolve to continue, but I feel that not eating is the only thing I can do from prison to draw attention to those who will have to make the choice between heating and eating this winter,’ she said.
Smart concluded that she wasn’t just going to ‘stand[…] by while [the] government commits treason against the people of this country’ and that her hunger strike felt like ‘the most important thing [she] will do in [her] life’.
Facing a charge of contempt of court, on December 14, nine more Insulate Britain protestors have been summoned to attend the High Court.
They could receive unlimited fines, have their assets seized, or even face a prison sentence of up to two years, if they are found guilty.
The activists have since set up a crowdfunder to help support those in, or facing, prison, whether it be to cover the cost of rent or their legal fees.
The climate change group are also holding a 24-hour fast on Tuesday 30th November from 8am. It will take place outside of 10 Downing Street, and Smart’s husband, Andy Smith, will also be present.
He told PA that while his wife is a ‘bit weak’ that she is ‘still in good spirits’.
‘I think a hunger strike is about 80% mental [strength] so as long as she’s doing OK mentally I think she’ll probably continue on her hunger strike until the government make a meaningful statement as to whether they’re going to insulate the homes of Britain or not,’ he said.
Insulate Britain’s 24-hour fast hopes to show solidarity with Smart, and raise awareness of the ‘urgent action’ required to aid ‘fuel poverty’.
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