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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Police State and Prisons
3 Animal Rights Activists Sentenced for 4 to 6 Years
3 animal rights activists were sentenced to prison today for exercising their right to free speech. See the AP article below.
TRENTON, N.J. - Three animal-rights activists, including one from Minnesota, convicted of using their Web site to incite threats and harassment against a company that tests products on animals received prison sentences ranging from four to six years Tuesday.
They were also ordered to pay a total of $1 million in restitution to the company and people they terrorized.
Three other members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are awaiting sentencing within the next two weeks.
Along with the organization itself, the six activists were convicted in March of using a Web site to incite threats, harassment and vandalism against Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that tests drugs and household products on animals.
The government charged that the group waged a five-year campaign against the company, posting the names, addresses and phone numbers of Huntingdon employees and those who do business with the company, and personal information such as where they go to church and where their children attend school.
Many of those people saw their homes vandalized and received threatening e-mails, faxes and phone calls.
The group, based in Philadelphia, maintains its actions were protected under the First Amendment.
The defendants, all in their late 20s or early 30s, were not accused of directly making threats or carrying out vandalism.
The three sentenced were the president of SHAC, Kevin Kjonaas of Minnesota; campaign coordinator Lauren Gazzola of Connecticut; and Web site manager Jacob Conroy of California. Kjonaas was sentenced to six years in prison, Gazzola to four years and four months, and Conroy to four years.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.