Free "Hurricane" Joseph Benson, Innocent of "e-Waste Crime"
Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics in Essex, England, held a permit for used electronics reuse. Part of his business involved collecting "gently used" televisions and electronics from UK collection points.
In 2009, NGOs (BAN.org and Greenpeace) circulated videos taken at African dumps and implicated exporters, including Benson, of sending "up to 80%" waste materials directly to "digital dumps". The NGOs raised thousands of dollars in the campaign, though they shared none of the proceeds with Africans.
Mr. Benson was given a modern looking CRT television with a cut wire by SkyNews, and the device was tracked by satellite to a reuse and repair marketplace - NOT to a dump. The repair was legal under Basel Convention Annex IX, B1110. Televisions were screened for easy repair, and electronics repair jobs are some of the best and highest paid in Africa.
Benson's documentation shows careful selection of used electronics, identified by make, model, and year, and the costs of his shipping showed no incentive for "dumping". Meanwhile UN reports and several university studies showed between 85-91% reuse of imports from England... better than brand new product sold in Africa.
"Hurricane" Joe Benson was threatened with a 60 Month Sentence if he didn't accept a guilty plea, and is currently serving a 16 month compromise sentence. However, there is NO evidence that he violated any law, or that any "primitive" dumping took place. The NGO's have not withdrawn their "statistic" about the African e-waste dumping, but Benson remains in prison.
We hereby sign this petition demanding the release of Joe Benson and apology to his family for the false accusation that the goods he shipped were illegal or mostly "e-waste".
For more information on the BJ Electronics / Hurricane Benson case, visit retroworks.blogspot.com or fairtraderecycling.org