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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.


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