Quaker Eco-Activist Released From Prison
From the EarthNews Section
of Issue #28, Winter 1997-8, p 3-4
Jack Ross, a 76-year-old Quaker, was released from maximum security
prison in Kamloops, British Colombia on October 15th after serving 71 days
in custody without charges ever being filed against him. Ross was arrested
for interfering with construction of a logging road in his watershed. Authorities
held him in jail because he refused to sign a paper agreeing to stop interfering
with the road.
Ross, a long-time activist and member of Friends Committee on Unity
with Nature, said he was released when it became apparent that road
construction was about to halt for the season, so his reasons not to sign
the paper were no longer valid, and he required medical attention.
"I have served 71 days in custody and have as yet not had a chance to explain
why I thought that nonviolent resistance to destruction of watersheds is
required," he said in a letter to EarthLight. He faces a
trial in February.
"I was especially moved by the very insightful and powerful letter," written
by the Quaker Earthcare Witness (FCUN) Spiritual Nurturance
Committee, Ross said. The letter was drafted at an FCUN international meeting
held in upstate New York in October and approved by the sixty-five persons
In the letter, the Committee told Ujaal Dosanjh, the provincial attorney
general, "Jack Ross is well known to us for his deep religious convictions
with respect to God's Creation and human responsibility.
"We recognize the action taken by Jack Ross, to protect a particular forested
watershed from being grossly damaged by unwise and destructive logging
practices, to be a conscientious expression of religious conviction about
human responsibility to God through Creation.
"Although his action contravened a court order, it is clear that Jack Ross
is in no way a threat to public safety. Yet he has been imprisoned for
three months without a trial. This circumstance, along with treatment to
which he has been subject while incarcerated, raises serious human rights
issues with regard to operation of the British Colombia legal system,"
the letter continued. ###