London priest and Catholic Worker gets 28 day sentence for non-payment of fines

photo by London Catholic Worker

photo by London Catholic Worker

Fr. Martin Newell of the London Catholic Worker was arrested on March 14 after writing on the walls of the Ministry of Defence in London with charcoal.  “Choose Life, No Trident, says God”, he wrote, and “ God is Peace”.

The next day, the Catholic priest appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court.  He refused to pay fines of £565 he owes from various peace and anti-nuclear actions over the past few years, stating reasons of faith and conscience.  The judge said he had no option but to sentence Newell to 28 days in prison.

Fr. Newell said, “Jesus taught us to love not just our neighbours but also our enemies. He showed us by his life and example how to resist evil not with violence but with loving, persistent, firm, active non-violence. It was this revolutionary patience on behalf of the poor and oppressed that, humanly speaking, led to him being arrested, tried, tortured and executed by the powers that be.

“The acts of witness that resulted in the fines I have refused to pay were a form of conscientious objection. Refusing to pay them is a continuation of that objection. It is a privilege to be able to follow on the path that led Jesus to the way of the cross and resurrection.”

Cards and letters of support can be sent to:

Martin Newell A5201CJ
HMP Wandsworth
PO Box 757
Heathfield Road
London SW18 3HS