San Diego, CA- A former member of the Animal Liberation Front who served nearly 5 years in prison for animal liberation activities was indicted yesterday for giving a speech about his former actions. Under a law that prohibits distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction., and which authorities have said has only been used four times since it was written in 1997, Rodney Coronado is facing 20 years in prison for telling other activists about his exploits at a 2003 conference for animal rights activists held the day after activists burned a partially completed condominium complex nearby.
While he has repeatedly denied any role in the arson, Coronado has said he sympathized with the arsonists. Describing himself as an unofficial Earth Liberation Front (ELF) spokesman, Coronado told the Associated Press at the time that young activists are "doing the only thing they know to do and that is strike a match and draw a whole lot of attention to their dissatisfaction with protecting the environment." Coronado has not been charged in the arson, which resulted in 50 million dollars damage and remains unsolved.
Coronado was taken into custody near his home in Tucson, and after arraignment is expected to be transferred to San Diego for trial. Last fall, 3 activists were jailed for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury that ultimately indicted Coronado. Danae Kelley, who was imprisoned for 2 months, said on her release in October "In the world of secret grand juries, nothing is known, targets aren't confirmed, and indictments haunt everyone. Grand juries are like riding a roller coaster blindfolded--anything goes. They have become a serious threat to our constitutional rights, and I encourage every citizen who receives a subpoena to resist and every other to voice support."
Animal Liberation Press Officer Dr. Jerry Vlasak states: "Due to the effectiveness of Mr. Coronado's words and actions fighting for animal liberation and the preservation of what little environment that has not been destroyed by humans, the corporate-controlled federal government is using any measures they can dig up to silence him. But it will never work; silencing free speech will only increase direct action."
For more information, contact the North American Animal Liberation Press Office: