[Ppnews] Feds To Continue Politically Motivated Prosecution of Eco-Saboteurs

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 22 14:09:41 EDT 2007


Civil Rights Outreach Committee

For Immediate Release:  May 22, 2007

Contacts:
Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Eugene, OR, 541-687-9180
Alejandro Queral, NW Constitutional Rights 
Center, Portland, OR, 503-295-6400, 202-491-6204

Feds To Continue Politically Motivated Prosecution of Eco-Saboteurs
Judge’s ruling opens door for activists to be sentenced for decades

Eugene, OR – Monday’s ruling by U.S. District 
Court Judge Ann Aiken gave the government the 
green light to attempt to brand 10 environmental 
and animal rights activists as terrorists, though 
they caused no injury to human life.  Pursuant to 
Judge Aiken’s opinion that a “federal crime of 
terrorism does not require a substantial risk of 
injury,” the government will likely seek harsher 
prison sentences under the terrorism enhancement 
provision of the Federal Sentencing 
Guidelines.  Judge Aiken has retained discretion 
to determine whether the terrorism enhancement 
provision should apply to each individual 
defendant involved in arsons intended to stem 
environmental destruction and animal abuse.  The 
ruling does require however, that the prosecutors 
prove that defendants’ actions were directed at 
the government itself and not just at private or corporate entities.

“This decision broadens the definition of 
terrorism by not requiring a ‘substantial risk of 
injury,’” said Lauren Regan, executive director 
of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.  “The 
question now is how the enhancement provision 
will apply to each defendant, so the prosecution 
must show that each individual intended to 
influence or affect the conduct of government, 
and not that of private companies. In this case, 
the court has set forth a very heavy burden for the government to meet.”

The ruling opens a Pandora’s Box that could 
result in additional politically motivated 
prosecutions by the Justice Department seeking to 
brand activists as “terrorists.”  The court’s 
decision may also set a dangerous precedent that 
could be exploited by the federal government to 
seek greater prison time for political activists 
engaged in acts of civil disobedience.

“The government now has a larger hammer to wield 
against political activists engaged in 
traditional forms of civil disobedience,” said 
Alejandro Queral, executive director of the NW 
Constitutional Rights Center. “There is a very 
real possibility that prosecutors will use the 
threat of a terrorism enhancement and increased 
prison time to send a chilling message to 
political activists that may have engaged in 
unlawful but symbolic actions, even if they pose 
no substantial risk of injury.”

The court will hold sentencing hearings for each 
defendant starting today (May 22) through June 5 
and will determine whether the terrorism 
enhancement applies to each defendant individually.

  Copies of a press packet with current related 
articles, background information, historical 
examples of sabotage in the U.S., and a history 
of F.B.I. repression of political activism are available.



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