Here in New York, a judge sentenced environmental and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger to the maximum penalty of six months in prison for contempt of court. The misdemeanor charges were linked to a lawsuit brought by Chevron, which has been targeting Donziger ever since he successfully sued the oil giant in Ecuador on behalf of Indigenous people whose land was contaminated by the oil giant. Donziger has already spent over two years under house arrest, and the U.N. and other rights groups have called for his release. This is Donziger in a social media video posted after his Friday sentence.
Steven Donziger: “It’s very clear Judge Preska wants me to serve my six-month sentence immediately, so that even if I get exonerated on appeal, I still will have served a sentence for a crime I never committed. And again, another example, I think, of the punitive nature of what’s happening. It’s almost unheard of for someone convicted of a misdemeanor in the United States not to be let out pending his or her appeal.”