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Civil Rights, Environmental Leaders Call on Ashcroft to Drop Greenpeace Prosecution

Published 12-10-03

Submitted by Environmental Media Services

Washington, DC - Leaders from a wide range of advocacy groups will join with Greenpeace at a Dec. 11 press conference to call on Attorney General John Ashcroft to drop his prosecution of Greenpeace for a nonviolent protest by several of its supporters.

The criminal prosecution of an advocacy group for the free speech activities of its members - and the chilling effect on its activities - is unprecedented in the U.S. It sets a dangerous precedent threatening the First Amendment right to peaceful protest.

Greenpeace is facing criminal charges by the Justice Department for an action in which two activists boarded a ship carrying illegal mahogany off the coast of Miami. They carried a banner urging President Bush to stop illegal logging. The Ashcroft Justice Department indicted Greenpeace by unearthing an 1872 law enacted to prevent "sailor mongering" - whereby owners of brothels and taverns sought to lure sailors off their ships. There are only two prosecutions on record under this law - the last one 113 years ago.

This press conference takes place on the eve of a Dec. 12 hearing in Miami, at which Greenpeace will ask the federal court to dismiss the indictment against it.

WHAT:
EMS Press Conference to Call for Halt to Greenpeace Prosecution

WHEN:
Thursday, December 11, 10 a.m. EST

WHERE:
The J.W. Marriott Hotel -- the Russell Room
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. (14th & Pennsylvania Ave)

WHO:

  • Julian Bond, Chair, NAACP
  • Ralph Neas, President, People for the American Way
  • Gerd Leipold, Executive Director, Greenpeace International
  • John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
  • Joyce Miller, Director, National Community Relations Division, American Friends Service Committee
  • Environmental Media Services

    Environmental Media Services

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