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DeMuth Charged with "Animal Enterprise Terrorism" But Could Possibly Be Released Next Week
Submitted by haloka on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 18:28
Thursday morning, Minneapolis grand jury resister Scott DeMuth was charged with conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism in Davenport, Iowa federal court. He is currently being held in the disciplinary block at the Muscatine County Jail after he was found to be in civil contempt of court for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury that convened in Davenport on Tuesday. Because the civil contempt charge was later dropped, on Friday he attended a hearing to decide on his possible release on unsecured bond; a final decision has not yet been made by the court.
Late Friday, Iowa corporate media reported that DeMuth also pleaded not guilty at the hearing. The article also reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Cronk cited items seized from DeMuth during a raid before the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Since the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA, an expansion on a previous act) in 2006, the law has only been used twice before yesterday: once in California and once in Utah. The act criminalizes and brands as "terrorism" actions which injure no one - such as like leafletting and sidewalk chalking - and are routinely undertaken by non-radical activists and ordinary citizens. The only criteria is whether the act "damag[es] or interfer[es] with the operations of an animal enterprise," such as by affecting profits. In the California case, one of the alleged crimes, reads the indictment there, was "us[ing] the Internet to find information on bio-medical researchers at the University of California."