PROTESTING pensioners Brian Quail and Angela Zelter have been thrown in jail after refusing to accept a court order banning them from campaigning outside a nuclear arms base.

Quail, a 79-year-old retired Latin teacher, is being kept in HMP Low Moss, while 66-year-old Zelter has been remanded in Corton Vale.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has called for the courts to look again at their decision. 

READ MORE: 1000s call for release of jailed anti-Trident protesters

Green MSP Andy Wightman called it an “overreaction”. 

The two were arrested by police for taking part in a blockade of the nuclear warhead store at Coulport on Loch Long as part of the Trident Ploughshares “week of disruption”.

The veteran campaigners and three others were offered bail at Dumbarton Justice of the Peace Court on Wednesday, but only if they agreed to not go “within 100m of the perimeter fence or shoreline of HMS Naval Base Clyde, Faslane”.

Quail and Zelter refused to accept those conditions and will be kept behind bars until their court date on August 3.

The others arrested were Sam Donaldson, 29, a community worker from Hull, Almudena Izquierdo Olmo from Madrid and Juan Carlos Navarro Diaz 46, a librarian from the Canary Islands. They all agreed to the JP’s stipulations.

Quail is well-known among anti-nuclear campaigners, and has in recent years managed to bring the UK’s atomic defences to a standstill using nothing more than a pedestrian crossing and a firm but polite refusal to move when asked to by police.

Wightman said: “To peacefully protest against weapons of mass destruction is an action to be commended and not punished. Veterans of the campaign such as Brian Quail deserve praise for continuing to highlight the immorality of the Trident system of mass killing. 

“Attempting to ban peaceful protestors from the vicinity of the base is an over-reaction and is likely to strengthen the resolve of the many people across Scotland who want to see an end to nuclear weapons.”

Sheppard said: “I think the court should look again at this. It cannot surely be the court’s wish that two elderly people are imprisoned for taking part in nonviolent peaceful action.

“The condition should be rescinded, they should be released and if they break the law again the police should take whatever action they think appropriate as and when that happens.

“I can’t even begin to think what the cost to the public purse is of this.”

Earlier this year Quail was fined £200 for lying underneath an armoured personnel carrier which was part a convoy carrying nuclear weapons through Stirling on its way to Coulport. His actions caused the whole transfer to come to a halt for nearly 30 minutes, and only ended when he was forcibly removed and then arrested by police.

The activist, who has had a double heart bypass, has 15 previous convictions for similar protests, and has been to jail five times before for non-payment of fines.

After his last trial, he pledged to continue protesting and described nuclear deterrence as “a Faustian pact”.

He said: “So I act. I do infinitesimally small things, because infinitesimally small things are all I can do.

“I won’t pay any fine imposed by any court that implies that Trident is legitimate or legal.”

A Trident Ploughshares spokesperson said: “Scottish courts should not be jailing people for protesting peacefully against the active deployment of a hideous weapon system”

The campaign has also asked supporters to send cards and letters to Quail at Low Moss, and Zelter at Cornton Vale.