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it became apparent that road construction was about to halt for the season, so his reasons not to sign the paper were no longer valid, and he required medical attention.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 attendance. 
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.   ###

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