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CCR Condemns Terrorism Indictment for Activists Freeing Mink from Fur Farms

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Activists charged under Unconstitutional Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act 

press@ccrjustice.org

July 11, 2014 – Today, in response to the indictments of animal rights activists Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff on federal terrorism charges for allegedly releasing 2,000 mink and foxes from fur farms, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

We are outraged that these two activists have been indicted as terrorists under an unconstitutional law, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, for allegedly saving thousands of lives. Saving animals from being skinned and killed for their fur may be against the law, but by labeling this kind of action “terrorism” the government is setting a dangerous precedent for future prosecutions of activists engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience.  The Fur Commission USA is one of the many groups that lobbied for the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. This case will have precisely the kind of chilling effect the law is meant to have on animal rights activists, and it is part of a dangerous trend that includes the proliferation of Ag Gag laws and other unconstitutional restrictions on activism.
CCR’s case, Blum v. Holder, which challenged the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, was dismissed earlier this year by a federal judge who ruled the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case because the government had not used the law against them. Plaintiffs argued their advocacy work has been chilled due to fear of being prosecuted as a terrorist under the AETA. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.