Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Steven Donziger

Imprisoned human rights lawyer Steven Donziger said he was transferred from a federal penitentiary in Connecticut back to house arrest on December 9, 2021. (Photo: Steven Donziger/Twitter)

'Huge Step Forward': Steven Donziger Transferred From Federal Prison to House Arrest

"But the battle for my freedom and to hold Chevron accountable continues," said the jailed human rights lawyer, who won a landmark multibillion-dollar judgment against the oil giant for Ecuadoran Indigenous people.

Brett Wilkins

Steven Donziger, the U.S. human rights attorney sentenced in October to six months' incarceration for refusing to hand over privileged client information to fossil fuel giant Chevron, said Thursday that he was released from a federal prison in Connecticut to complete his sentence under house arrest.

"Prison officials released me this morning to serve the rest of my sentence (136 days) at home," Donziger tweeted following his release from the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. Prior to his incarceration, he had spent over 800 days under house arrest.

Donziger said he is "so grateful" for the development, but that "the battle for my freedom and to hold Chevron accountable continues."

Donziger represented a group of Ecuadorean farmers and Indigenous people in a 1990s lawsuit against Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron, over the company's intentional dumping of billions of gallons of carcinogenic waste into the Amazon. The U.S. attorney won a multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron in Ecuadorian courts.

However, Chevron went after Donziger in the American court system, and when the attorney refused to disclose privileged client information to the company, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan—who was invested in Chevron—held him in contempt of court. Kaplan's handpicked judge to preside over Donziger's contempt trial, Loretta Preska, is affiliated with the Chevron-funded Federalist Society.

Donziger's case drew worldwide attention and solidarity, with human rights experts and free speech groups joining progressive U.S. lawmakers in demanding his release.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo