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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2011
12:57 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Environmentalist Sentenced to Two Years in Jail; Thousands of Political Arrests Since Obama Inauguration

WASHINGTON - July 27 - Reuters reports: “An environmental activist was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday in a federal court in Salt Lake City for defrauding the U.S. government by posing as a bidder for oil and gas drilling rights on Utah public lands. Tim DeChristopher, 29, had submitted the phony bids to derail an auction of energy rights.” See today’s Salt Lake Tribune editorial “Justice Denied.”

DeChristopher just wrote the piece: “I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me.”

ALLISON FISHER, or via Dorry Samuels, dsamuels at citizen.org, @Public_Citizen
Fisher is the outreach director of Public Citizen‘s Energy Program. She said today: “The prosecution’s strategy was obviously to make an example of Tim DeChristopher and intimidate climate activists from pursing change through non-violent civil disobedience, but even with the unreasonable punishment levied on DeChristopher, I think they’ve failed. Instead those that are dedicated to protecting their land, air and water have been given a shining example of poise and integrity. In a statement read at his sentencing, DeChristopher makes a clear and justifiable case for the action he took and in doing so has become an inspiration for – not a deterrence against – activism that challenges unjust laws.”

LEONARD EIGER, subversivepeacemaking at gmail.com, http://www.gzcenter.org
Military.com reported on March 29: “Two priests, a nun and two women in their 60s who cut through fences at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest submarine nuclear weapons were sentenced Monday to prison terms ranging from two to 15 months.”

Eiger is a media and outreach coordinator for Disarm Now Ploughshares. He said today: “Tim’s action was wonderfully clever and creative, and it definitely shined a bright light on the topic … The one striking parallel between Tim’s case and cases involving peace activists — Disarm Now Plowshares … etc. — is the increasing and intense prosecution of these cases by the government and the convictions and sentences being handed down. It does appear that the government is trying to deter people from what is often the last resort to getting the government’s attention when it is failing to uphold the law or protect the interests of the people (as opposed to corporate interests).”

Background: “Over 2,600 Activists Arrested in U.S. Protests Since Obama’s Inauguration

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.



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