Though the transfer occurred nearly three weeks ago, news broke Wednesday that renowned climate activist Tim DeChristopher has been removed from his minimum security prison lodgings and placed in isolated confinement. Peaceful Uprising, the environmental organization founded by DeChristopher, reports that he is currently sharing an eight-by-10 foot cell with another inmate and is only allowed 15 minutes of phone calls a month.
If you recognize Tim DeChristopher’s name but can’t quite place it, here’s a brief bit of background: In 2008, DeChristopher, then a 27 year-old economics student at the University of Utah, entered an oil and gas lease auction for 22,250 acres of federal land. In an act of civil disobedience that has been lauded by many as a striking bit of bravery, DeChristopher posed as a buyer and put down a $1.8 million bid for the acreage. For interrupting the procedures, in 2011 DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Today, DeChristopher has become an international icon for creative climate criminality and peacefully sticking-it-to-the-man, yet his transfer to harsher prison conditions was at the request of an anonymous congressman, precipitated by one email DeChristopher had sent to a friend.
From Peaceful Uprising:
Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own. According to Prison officials, Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation. There is no definite timeline for inmates being held in the SHU — often times they await months for the conclusion of an investigation.
Must we even express how insane this appears to be? The organization is currently petitioning Washington officials to move DeChristopher back to the minimum security prison he has been housed in for the past six months—they’re also asking supporters to do the same.
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