18 December 1979 |
|Movement||Peace movement, human rights|
|Awards||Peter Duffy Award 2007|
Maya (Anne) Evans (born 18 December 1979) is a British peace campaigner who was arrested in October 2005 opposite the Cenotaph war memorial in London, for refusing to stop reading aloud the names of British soldiers who had been killed in Iraq following the 2003 Iraq war.
Evans, an anti-war activist from Hastings, became the first person in the UK to be convicted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration within 1 km of Parliament Square. She received a conditional discharge and a fine.
Evans is one of the main campaigners in the group 'Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK' focusing on the on-going conflict in Afghanistan. Evans has been on speaking tours in the UK in 2006, 2007 and 2012, her letters appear regularly in The Guardian and The Independent and until 2011 had a regular column in the monthly Peace News. On 10 December 2007, Human Rights Day, Evans was awarded the Peter Duffy Award by the pressure group Liberty "for her campaigning work and commitment to the cause of liberty" and "courage in standing up for our fundamental rights to peaceful protest and freedom of speech".
She is a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society.
Afghanistan and legal challenges
In June 2009, Evans sought a judicial review of the detainee transfer policy applying to Afghans captured by British soldiers, following claims they were subject to torture, including by beating and electrocution, after being handed to Afghan authorities such as the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The hearing, in April 2010, included evidence from the Royal Military Police, and was partly held in secret, with much of the evidence not available to Evans's lawyers. The judges described their ruling, on 25 June 2010, as a "partial victory" for Evans, concluding that there was "a real risk that detainees transferred to NDS Kabul will be subjected to torture or serious mistreatment" and transfers would "therefore be in breach of the Secretary of State's policy and unlawful", but transfers to other NDS facilities (Kandahar and Lashkar Gah) could continue provided specified conditions were met, such as the right of British monitors to get access to the detainees regularly. After the ruling, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan "found compelling evidence that NDS officials at five facilities systematically tortured detainees", including at least one facility, at Kandahar, that had been pronounced safe for detainee transfers by the High Court.
In 2010, Evans also mounted a call for a judicial review over alleged civilian killings by British forces in Afghanistan. On 12 May 2011, Evans won a separate action against cuts to legal aid for judicial review cases that were brought in the general public interest, submitting that the motive behind the cuts was to avoid government accountability rather than to save money. Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Stadlen found that the government had not properly revealed the "true reasons" behind their proposed amendments to legal aid, and that the consultation process had been "legally defective". The ruling against the cuts was hailed as "a significant victory for the rule of law."
In December 2011, Evans joined Voices for Creative Nonviolence on the first British peace delegation to Afghanistan, visiting a refugee camp to deliver aid raised by other British peace activists. She visited Kabul again at Christmas 2012 as a guest of Afghan peace makers.
- Maya Anne Evans; Milan Rai (2006). Naming the Dead. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-904527-10-7.
- "MPs condemn arrest of woman who spoke out". Daily Mail. 9 December 2005. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- BBC News (7 December 2005). "Activist convicted under demo law". BBC News. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Leader (11 December 2005). "Wasting police time". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- BBC News (20 December 2006). "Parliament protesters lose appeal". Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "Human Rights Awards 2007". Liberty. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008.
- "Previous award winners". Liberty.
- International Organization for a Participatory Society – Interim Committee Retrieved 2012-9-25
- Richard Norton-Taylor (29 June 2009). "MoD could face high court over alleged abuse of Afghan captives". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- Michael Seamark (20 April 2010). "British 'handed over Taliban suspects to be tortured'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- Richard Norton-Taylor (20 April 2010). "UK accused over Taliban torture risk when handing over insurgents". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- BBC News (25 June 2010). "'Partial victory' in challenge to UK Taliban transfers". BBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Paddy McGuffin (26–27 June 2010). "Victory for anti-torture activist". The Morning Star. p. 1. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Richard Norton-Taylor (26 July 2010). "Afghan detainees must be safeguarded against abuse, says high court". The Guardian. p. 13. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Reuters (25 June 2010). "UK activist wins part victory in Afghan challenge". Reuters.
- "Systematic torture in Afghan detention facilities – UN report". 10 October 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Channel 4 News. "Wikileaks killings: UK troops face legal challenge". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- BBC News (12 May 2011). "Maya Evans: peace activist wins legal aid court battle". Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Gladstone, Richard (25 January 2012). "Interview: St Leonards woman spends Christmas in Afghanistan". Hastings Observer. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Evans, Maya (February 2012). "Maya Evans returns from the first British peace delegation to Afghanistan". Peace News. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Maya’s Christmas peace trip in war ravaged Afghanistan". Hastings Observer. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- Protests outside Parliament will be allowed – Daily Telegraph, 26 March 2008.
- Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK.
- Arrest of Maya Evans and Fr Martin Newell at Labour Party Conference – UK Indymedia
- "From Hastings to Kabul" – blog by Maya Evans and others