Lawyer Who Sued Chevron over “Amazon Chernobyl” Ordered to Prison After 800+ Days of House Arrest
The environmental and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger joins us just before he is ordered to report to jail today, after a years-long legal battle with the oil company Chevron and 813 days of house arrest. In 2011, Donziger won an $18 billion settlement against Chevron on behalf of 30,000 Indigenous people in Ecuador for dumping 16 billion gallons of oil into their ancestral land in the Amazon.
Since the landmark case, Donziger has faced a series of legal attacks from Chevron and a New York federal judge, who has employed a private law firm linked to the oil company to prosecute him. Earlier this month, he was sentenced to six months in prison for contempt of court, and his request for bail pending his appeal was denied.
Amnesty International and United Nations human rights advocates, along with several U.S. lawmakers, are calling for Donziger’s immediate release.
“Chevron and these two judges, really allies of the fossil fuel industry, are trying to use me as a weapon to intimidate activists and lawyers who do this work,” says Donziger. “I need to be prosecuted by a neutral prosecutor, not by Chevron.”