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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.

EMS Press Conference to Call for Halt to Greenpeace Prosecution

Thursday, December 11, 10 a.m. EST

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


  • 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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