All charges dropped against Birmingham student protesters


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The Independent Online

All cases against 13 student protesters following a demonstration at Birmingham University have been dropped by police.

Yesterday, the CPS announced it would be dropping charges against three students arrested at the protest on 29 January. Investigations against a further 10 arrestees will also be discontinued, after no evidence of allegations of damage or assault were found.

In a statement, the arrested students have claimed that they were subjected “to between 30 and 40 hours in police cells, strip-searches, extraordinarily harsh bail conditions – and all when the arrests were made under unlawful circumstances.”

Two of the students, meanwhile, who had been suspended by the university for their roles in protest campus, have also been reinstated after eight weeks. Three other suspended students were also reinstated recently.

Since the arrests, 17 MPs signed an Early Day Motion condemning the university’s “extremely repressive measures”, while 228 members of academic staff signed a letter criticising the suspensions.

In a statement, the university said it “had reviewed and lifted” the suspensions “in line with its policies”.

It added: "The University of Birmingham continues to uphold the principle of free speech and supports the rights of students and staff to protest peacefully and within the law, indeed there have been many protests on campus that have passed off peacefully and without incident. However, when violence is perpetuated on campus… the university will continue to take robust action to uphold its responsibility and duty of care to its community.”

A protest against the suspensions planned for today is still going ahead.