ELF Press Office Calls Activist’s 22 Year Sentence Cruel and Unusual Punishment

February 5, 2009

EARTH LIBERATION FRONT PRESS OFFICE CALLS ENVIRONMENTALIST’S 22 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE “CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT”

Lansing, MI – The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO) responded today to the nearly 22-year sentence handed to environmental activist Marie Mason, calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Marie Mason, an environmentalist and labor rights organizer, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney, to a term of 21 years and 10 months in prison for her role in environmental defense actions that included targeting genetic engineering research at Michigan State University and urban sprawl in Indiana.

“The sentenced imposed on Marie Mason today by Judge Maloney was for nonviolent crimes against property,” stated NAELFPO spokesman Jason Crawford. “Currently, the average federal sentence for murder is 19 years, nearly three years less than given to Marie Mason today for nonviolent property crimes. Two things are clear from this decision. First, the U.S. government cares more about the property of corporations and institutions involved in environmental destruction than they value human life. Second, since the 22 year sentence given to Marie Mason is three years above the average federal sentence for murder, it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, is an international, underground movement consisting of
autonomous groups of people who engage in direct actions to protect the planet. Formed in 1992 in Brighton, England as an offshoot of the Earth First! organization, the ELF has been active in the United States since 1996. Since that time the group has conducted dozens of actions across the country and North America resulting in over $150 million in damages. Notorious ELF actions have included the $26 million arson attack at Colorado’s Vail Ski Resort in 1998 and the $50 million arson attack on a five-story condominium project in San Diego, CA in 2003.

“The federal government wrongly believes it can stop the national effort to protect the environment by imprisoning those who take nonviolent action against corporate and governmental polluters,” Crawford continued. “Instead of targeting environmental defenders, why isn’t the U.S. government prosecuting and imprisoning the real ecoterrorists, the CEO’s of Exxon, Ford Motor Co., Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Boeing, Proctor & Gamble, General Motors and other corporations that are polluting the planet and increasing global warming daily?”

The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO) is the public face of the Earth Liberation Front direct action movement. First established in 2000, the NAELFPO receives anonymous communiqués from the ELF and similar environmental protection groups and forwards the information to news media internationally.

NAELFPO can be found on the web at http://www.elfpressoffice.org and http://www.earthliberation.net.

Contact: North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO)
Tel: (202) 521-1482 Email: info@elfpressoffice.org

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