Incarcerated Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Moved to Restricted Cell

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Common Dreams

Incarcerated Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Moved to Restricted Cell

Supporters of jailed environmentalist build campaign against move, call attention to injustice of his imprisonment

by
Common Dreams staff

Supporters of the jailed environmental activist Tim DeChristopher are raising new concern about his treatment behind bars.

Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who is serving a two-year sentence for unlawfully disrupting a Bureau of Land Management gas and drilling lease auction in 2008, has been moved from the minimum security section at the Herlong Federal Correction Facility in California to a more restrictive and isolating housing unit. 

The move, according to a statement from DeChristopher's supporters at Peaceful Uprising (an organization he helped build), took place on March 9th and has severely restricted both his movements and his communications with the outside world. According to the statement:

"Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own.  According to Prison officials, Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation. There is no definite timeline for inmates being held in the SHU — often times they await months for the conclusion of an investigation."

Peaceful Uprising, along with other supporters, are calling for officials to intervene on DeChristopher's behalf. They will hold a press conference in Utah on Thursday and are building a campaign for supporters to weigh in on the issue.

Democracy Now! reports this morning:

Supporters of the jailed environmental activist Tim DeChristopher are raising new concern about his treatment behind bars. DeChristopher is currently serving a two-year sentence for posing as a bidder to prevent oil and gas drilling on thousands of acres of public land. According to his legal defense fund, DeChristopher was recently removed from a minimum security prison ward into an isolated cell known as a "Special Housing Unit," or SHU. He reportedly shares the tiny cell with another prisoner, and has been allowed outside of it just four times over a two-week period. DeChristopher’s freedom to read books, write in his journal, and communicate with the outside world have all come under new restrictions.

And Jeff Biggers, writing at Common Dreams today, argues:

Unanswered questions abound over DeChristopher’s extreme treatment and the role of Congressional members. He still faces nearly a year and a half of incarceration–potentially all of it to now be served in isolation.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

As President Obama noted to Chicago host Oprah Winfrey about rising global temperatures: “It gets you thinking.”

Such an outrageous act should also get the public, and President Obama, the US Congress and Bureau of Prisons officials to bring an end to DeChristopher’s wrongful isolation–and unfair 2-year prison sentence.

Peaceful Uprising supporters are calling on prison officials, and members of the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, to intervene and return DeChristopher to Minimum Security Camp at FCI Herlong.

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