[Ppnews] Sentencing dates set for "eco-sabotage" defendants

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 14 17:55:06 EST 2006

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2006
Contact: Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Eugene, OR, 541-687-9180

Sentencing Dates Set for “Eco-Sabotage” Defendants

Government will Seek Terrorism Enhancement

Today, in the federal courthouse in Eugene, 
Oregon, Judge Ann Aiken set sentencing dates for 
ten individuals who earlier this year pled guilty 
to charges stemming from the FBI’s “Operation Backfire” prosecutions.

The 2007 dates are: Stanislas Meyerhoff, April 
10; Kevin Tubbs, April 17; Chelsea Gerlach, April 
18; Darren Thurston, April 19; Suzanne Savoie and 
Kendall Tankersley, April 20; Nathan Block and 
Joyanna Zacher, April 25; Daniel McGowan, April 
26; and Jonathan Paul, April 30.

Despite the fact than none of the defendants in 
the case were ever charged with the crime of 
terrorism, federal prosecutors have announced 
that they will seek terrorism sentence 
enhancements of up to 20 years at the time of 
sentencing for all the defendants, despite the 
fact that they pled guilty to crimes of property 
damage. (It has never been alleged that any 
defendant injured another human or animal as a 
result of their politically motivated acts of 
sabotage.) A discussion of the overarching issues 
regarding the constitutionality of the proposed 
terrorism enhancement, as it applies to all 
defendants, will tentatively take place during 
Meyerhoff’s hearing. Other sentencing hearings 
may be pushed back as a result. An additional 
status hearing was set on March 2 to check-in 
with the court and parties to determine if the dates set will still be viable.

Beyond additional time in federal prison, any 
terrorism enhancement would have potentially 
Draconian consequences for defendants upon 
release. Such a finding by the courts may 
prohibit them from being able to travel outside 
the U.S., open a bank account, or otherwise 
successfully reintegrate into society.

“The sentencing provision at issue, entitled 
‘Acts of Terrorism Transcending National 
Boundaries,’ simply does not apply to the facts 
of this case and is a blatant attempt by the 
government to label citizens as terrorists for 
political gain and to manipulate and exploit 
Americans’ concerns after 9/11 – which was a true 
act of terrorism,” stated Lauren Regan, executive 
director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. 
“In a case where only property damage occurs, and 
where citizens took illegal action to stop 
environmental destruction and animal suffering 
within the U.S., this federal law was not meant 
to apply and is unconstitutionally applied to these defendants.”

Copies of a press packet with a synopsis of the 
prosecution, related articles, background 
information, historical examples of sabotage in 
the U.S., and a history of FBI repression of 
political activism, are available upon request.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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