As Slingshot goes to press, forest activists Jeffrey \”Free\” Luers and Craig \”Critter\” Marshall are going on trial in Eugene, Oregon, charged with 9 felonies including arson and attempted arson. They are accused of starting a fire Joe Romania Chevrolet and attempting to set fire to the Tyree Oil Company. Both companies contribute to global warming which is threatening the extinction of thousands of species. If convicted on all counts, they could face 86 years behind bars!
Free and Critter\’s arrest and trial is part of the Eugene Police Department\’s latest attempt to intimidate the rapidly growing anarchist scene in Eugene. In essence, the police hope to \”make an example\” of Free and Critter, and send a message to radicals that \”you could be next.\” The trial comes on the heels of the conviction of Robert Thaxton, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison last year for an alleged assault on a police officer at a street protest. We can\’t let the state create any more political prisoners!
The evidence against Free and Critter and the way they were arrested are all suspect. Free and Critter were stopped by police on June 16, at 1:30 am for driving with a headlight out. After calling in their license numbers and identity, they were arrested and held for arson. Eugene police say they followed Free and Critter\’s car from the site of the fire. However, the Springfield (next city over) police officers who made the arrest report having pulled the car over for a routine traffic violation.
The day after the arrest, police searched Free\’s home looking for common household items like items as empty plastic containers, sponges, incense sticks, matches, rubber bands, paint, gasoline, and correspondence. A member of Free\’s household was detained for 2 hours and questioned. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was identified at the scene. There is reason to believe that Free and Critter, as well as other Eugene anarchists, were under surveillance by police for months before the arrest, and the police were waiting for an excuse to charge them with some sort of crime. Both men have been active in forest protection campaigns, local copwatch activities, and other community projects, including self-defense for women, cooperative child-care and Food Not Bombs.
Free and Critter are on their way to being the latest US political prisoners. They need your help. Funds are desperately needed for their legal defense. Send money to: Free and Critter Fund, 454 Willamette St. #205, Eugene, Oregon 97401. Or call (541) 343-8548. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free and Critter can receive written correspondence, including photocopied materials with no stapes at least until they are transferred to prison after their trail, when their address will change. Call the legal team to figure out where they are. As of this writing, write: Jeffrey Luers (Free) #1306729 or Craig Marshall (Critter) #1340996, both at 101 W. 5th Street, Eugene, Oregon 97401