In his book “Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” And prison is where a federal judge has put Tim DeChristopher, 29, after he posed in 2008 as a winning bidder at a government auction for thousands of acres of land then eligible for lease by gas and oil corporations. According to the judge, it was DeChristopher’s persistent public declarations on the necessity of civil disobedience that earned him his sentence.
“The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn’t that bad,” the judge said.
Protesters exploded in anger when it was announced that the judge sentenced DeChristopher to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Twenty-six were arrested.
Last month Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges interviewed DeChristopher and wrote about his case. To see that article, click here. —ARK
Salt Lake Tribune:
Tim DeChristopher’s mouth — and not just his 2008 disruption of a federal oil and gas lease auction — landed him behind bars Tuesday, a judge said as he slapped the activist with a two-year prison term.
... U.S. District Judge Dee Benson pointed to DeChristopher’s continued defiance and frequent assertions to reporters that civil disobedience is justified in fighting climate change. He mentioned DeChristopher’s speech after his March conviction, in which the activist implored others to buck the system.
If not for that “continuing trail of statements,” Benson said, DeChristopher might not have faced prosecution, let alone prison.
AP / Jim Urquhart
Before his sentencing, Tim DeChristopher told the judge: “You have authority over my life, but not over my principles.”