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Scientists and academics peacefully taking action against climate inaction are being sentenced and jailed

Find out who they are, what motivated them, what charges they are facing and how you can help

In Germany

Prof Nikolaus (Niko) Froitzheim
On trial

Professor of geology Nikolaus (Niko) Froitzheim of University of Bonn has been convicted of resistance against law enforcement officers for having blocked the Kronprinzenbrücke in Berlin’s government district together with other scientists and students in April 2022. The reason for the peaceful blockade was the publication of the latest IPCC report that emphasised the need for drastic climate mitigation measures and the threat of missing the 1.5˚C target soon otherwise.

Christian Bläul
Waiting for a hearing

Physicist Christian Bläul (Germany) was taken to trial after participating in a street blockade at Kronprinzenbrücke, Berlin, during Scientist Rebellion's campaign "1.5ºC is Dead" on April 2022 . During the action, the scientist activists chained themselves to one another and glued their hands to the road. The action took place in front of the building where the German Climate Minister was giving a press conference on renewable energy plans. A year later, Christian was convicted to pay a fine. He is now waiting for a hearing after having filed an appeal.

"We have enough knowledge and technology to solve the climate crisis. What we need is political will. I have dedicated my work life to making a just transition to a CO₂ net-zero world. I owe that to my own children as well as to everybody else's."

14 scientists from Scientist Rebellion have been charged with a fine of 12,800€ (equivalent to 160 days in prison) for taking part in a week of actions in Oct-Nov 2022 actions, including a protest in the BMW luxury cars showroom in Munich, a series of road blockades and a protest at the BlackRock headquarter in Munich. Among the scientists are: Prof Hugo Raguet, Nate Rugh, Sylvain Kuppel, Víctor De Santos Herranz, Lorenzo Masini (MSc), Angelo Aiello, Leonardo Rebeschini (MSc), Dr. Jérôme Guilet. The scientists have appealed the original penalty and are awaiting trial.

Dr Cornelia Huth
On trial

On 16 May 2023 a German court convicted Dr Cornelia Huth, a biologist and member of the group Scientist Rebellion of coercion in connection with a road blockade in Munich on 28 October 2022 and ordered to pay a fine. Together with Dr. Huth, a Jesuit priest and a student were also convicted.

Marta Moreno Muñoz
Held in preventative custody for 7 days

PhD candidate in History and Arts Marta Moreno Muñoz (Spain) is facing trial in Munich after participating in three non-violent direct actions during the Unite Against Climate Failure campaign in October 2022.

"In all probability we are going to go beyond the safety limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within this decade. We are on the edge of ecological collapse with catastrophic consequences for life on Earth.

We can't continue with our normal lives pretending nothing is happening. It is our moral duty to rebel".

Jérôme Guilet
Held in jail for 3 days and 2 days in detention

Astrophysics researcher Dr Jérôme Guilet (France) will be on trial for participating in three non-violent direct actions in Munich during the campaign "United Against Climate Failure" in October 2022.

"The science is clear that we are in a climate and ecological emergency, we must take actions accordingly in order to avoid further immense suffering of humans and other animals!"

Marceau Minot
Held in jail for 4 days

Marceau Minot is an ecologist working on biodiversity, with a focus on threatened species groups: wild pollinators, dragonflies and bees. He is facing charges of 9,000€ for taking action in Munich in the 2022 Unite Against Climate Failure Campaign.

"I am very afraid about the global ecological crisis we are going through. As a scientist and a citizen, I feel like I have to do all I can to push our system in a better direction now. Otherwise, I just wouldn't bee able to sleep at night, or look at my face in a mirror."

Agisilaos Koulouris
Facing Trial / Held under custody for 7 days​​​​​​​

Physical Education teacher and ex-assistant researcher in Physiology, Nutrition and Biomechanics Agisilaos Koulouris is facing charges of trespassing and criminal damage for taking part in two non-violent direct actions in BMW Welt museum and BlackRock offices in Munich.

"I do it out of grief for what we've already lost, out of fear that we'll lose everything, and love for all the beautiful living beings around me, but most importantly, out of conviction that we are the ones that we were waiting for to build a world that we'd love to live in. The more we wait, the more we lose. Let's act now!"

Guido Occhipinti
Facing trial

Marine ecologist Guido Occhipinti is facing trial after his participation in a non-violent direct action at the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg.

"I am haunted by the specter of wars and deaths, exacerbated by the looming climate crisis. It is imperative that we proactively reclaim the present, directing our efforts towards dismantling the influence of major corporations that have handed our future over to capitalism. Let's unite, form strong communities rooted in solidarity, and fight."

Mark V.
Facing trial

Chemist and firefighter Mark V. is facing trial for a non-violent direct action in the BlackRock offices in Munich.

"As a firefighter, I'm usually called to the scene when it's far too late for prevention and all that's left is a vague hope for damage control. We do what is necessary under great personal risk for our health and life, not knowing if it's even possible to change the outcome. I feel the same calling from the climate crisis right now!"

Leonardo Rebeschini (MSc)
Held under custody for 7 days

Leonardo Rebeschini (MSc in Physics and Cosmology) is facing trial in Munich for taking part in three actions of non-violent civil disobedience.

"We see the world burning and flooding from place to place, 2023 will be recorded as the year things start to spiral out of control, we cannot negotiate with laws of physics. It's time to pick a side, either we are on the resisting side of the equation, either we are on the complicit one".

Prof Hugo Raguet
Held in jail for 32h and under custody for 7 days

Associate professor in Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences Hugo Raguet (France) is awaiting trial for non-violent direct action in Munich during the campaign "United Against Climate Failure" in October 2022.

“I would spend ten years in prison, if it could give my children ten years life expectancy”

Nate Rugh
Held under custody for 7 days

Environmental Scientist Nate Rugh faces trial after participating in three non-violent direct actions in Munich. His research on environmental conflicts stemming from carbon offsets backs his call for urgent action on climate.

"The world is on course to a 3.2 degree temperature rise by 2100, that would lead to the inevitable collapse of civilization. As someone who understands the science, I have a moral duty to act.”

Dr Sylvain Kuppel
Held in preventative custody for 6 days

French hydrologist Sylvain Kuppel is facing trial and a heavy fine after participating in three actions in Munich during the Unite Against Climate Failure Campaign.

"In these desperate times of generalized inaction, I consider civil disobedience to be part of my freedom of speech, as a citizen and as a scientist. We simply cannot afford to let people who have conflicting interests or who are incompetent take over the public debate: what’s at stake here is our own survival, and that of countless living beings."

Víctor De Santos Herranz
Held under custody for 7 days

Environmental scientist Víctor de Santos Herranz (Spain) is facing trial in Munich for taking part in three actions of non-violent civil disobedience during the Unite Against Climate Failure campaign in October 2022.

"The future is not written, we, as human beings, create it with our actions. We can create a better world for all, a world without injustice and oppression is still possible despite these times of systemic crisis. Let us fight for our utopia."

Lorenzo Masini (MSc)
Held in jail for 5 days and under custody for 3 days

Biotechnologist Lorenzo Masini (MSc in Plant Biotechnology) is facing charges of 12,800€, equivalent to 320 daily fines, for taking part in peaceful actions in Berlin and Munich during the campaign "United against climate failure".

"There are moments in history in which we are called to take a clear position. This is the time. Let's use our privilege in order to preserve the beauty of this world and be on the right side of history. There will be no other chance. Rebel for Life."

Angelo Aiello
Held in jail for 5 days and under custody for 3 days

Natural scientist Angelo Aiello is facing charges of trespassing, property damage and coercion for taking part in peaceful actions to demand an end to climate failure from the German government.

"I just can’t be a bystander. Things keep getting worse and worse, people are dying, species are going extinct… And people like me, who study the tragedy we are facing, have even more responsibility to sort out this mess."

In the UK

Mike Lynch-White
Facing 6 to 18 months in prison

Scientist Rebellion co-founder and theoretical physicist Mike Lynch-White is facing 6-8 months in prison over non-violent direct action related to a climate protest mobilisation that took place in 2019. He is also a human rights defender currently in prison, sentenced to 27 months for a peaceful protest with Palestine Action back in 2021.

Dr. Tim Hewlett
Convicted to 3 months suspended sentence and £1.100 in damages

Scientist Rebellion co-founder and astrophysicist Dr. Tim Hewlett has been convicted to 3 months suspended sentence and £1.100 in damages over a non-violent action throwing paint to the Shell’s UK headquarters in London on April 2022 with Scientist Rebellion.

In the USA

Troy Horton
Jailed twice, both cases dismissed

In May 2022, Troy Horton chained himself multiple times to the entrance of a Wells Fargo branch. This company is one of the largest investors in fossil fuels and fracking. Troy worked in Environmental Investing and Divestment. He was allowed to present Climate Necessity Defense in both trials, and, with the help of Scientist Rebellion expert witnesses, both cases were dismissed.

"Future generations deserve a livable World!"

In Spain

15 scientists, academics and climate activists prosecuted for a non-violent action in which they threw washable red paint to the façade of the Parliament building in Spain, on the 6th of April of 2022. Among them, 10 scientists. They declared in front of a judge last May and they face charges of criminal damage and public nuisance to up to 4 years in prison. Among them: Prof Jorge Riechmann, Dr Elena González Egea, Dr Mauricio Misquero, Marta García Pallarés, Dr Fernando Prieto, Karen Killeen.

Justyna Świdrak
Facing trial

Experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Justyna Świdrak (Poland) is facing trial in Spain after taking action in December 2023 during the "How Much More" campaign. Justyna was one of the scientists who occupied the balcony of the European Union offices in Barcelona to demand the creation of an European Citizen Assembly for Climate.

"The best time to mitigate climate change was in the 80's. The second best time is now. Organize and act!"

Prof Jorge Riechmann
Criminal damage and public nuisance to up to 4 years in prison

Professor of Ethics and Philosophy Jorge Riechmann participated in the action in April 2022 outside the Spanish Parliament. In his work, Prof Riechmann studies ecological-social transitions and collapses.

"Friends, we are running out of time. The fusion of biotechnology and info-technology may end human freedom; the global ecological crisis (starting with global warming) may even end the human species. And the deadlines are very short." (From Jorge's book 'Graffiti for Neanderthals')

Karen Killeen
Criminal damage and public nuisance to up to 4 years in prison

Retired language teacher Karen Killeen (MA Modern Languages):

"We have already surpassed 5 of the earth's planetary boundaries. The longer our governments procrastinate, the more probable it becomes that great swathes of our planet will be unfit for human habitation. This will inevitably lead to societal breakdown, mass migration and unthinkable suffering."

Dr Elena González Egea
Criminal damage and public nuisance to up to 4 years in prison

Astrophysicist Dr. Elena González Egea is facing trial after taking part in the April 2022 non-violent direct action in front of the Spanish Parliament. In her words:

"We were exercising our right to protest, enshrined in the Spanish constitution, to raise the alarm after the publication of the 6th assessment of the IPCC from the United Nations, published in April last year. This report has been completely ignored by our government, which is completely controlled by oil and electricity companies. They are prioritizing the profits of these companies over the lives of the Spanish population"

Dr Mauricio Misquero
Criminal damage and public nuisance to up to 4 years in prison

"There will be no second chance. Now it is the moment for each of us to ask ourselves: who deserves my loyalty, a terrorist government or all the life on Earth that is being murdered?"

In France

On the night of April 9-10, 2022, about thirty scientists occupied the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and gave twelve presentations to call for urgent, radical and necessary measures to limit the consequences of current and future climate and ecological crises.

Prof Pierre Mathieu
Facing trial

Mathematics Professor Pierre Mathieu (France) is facing trial after taking part in non-violent direct action in Paris. Together with other scientists from SR, Pierre occupied a wing at the National Museum of Natural History, and staged a teach-in on the urgency of climate action.

David Nacass
Facing trial

David Nacass from the IUT de Génie Mécanique et Productique (France) is facing trial after taking part in non-violent direct action in Paris. Together with other scientists from SR, David occupied a wing at the National Museum of Natural History, and staged a teach-in on the urgency of climate action.

"If not now, when?"

In Denmark

Prof Fernando Racimo
Held in jail for 6h

Associate Professor in Evolutionary Biology Fernando Racimo (Argentina) is being investigated for charges of vandalism after taking part in non-violent direct action pasting scientific papers on the Danske Bank, demanding a stop to investments in fossil fuel companies.

"Now, more than ever, we academics need courage. The courage to step outside the boundaries of what is convenient or conventional, and be honest with the public about the danger we are all in. We can watch the world burn, or we can help put out the flames."

Dr Nikoline Borgermann
Held in jail for up to 30h

Biochemist Nikoline Borgermann (Denmark) is awaiting trial after taking part in non-violent civil resistance in Copenhagen. The peaceful protests include reading out loud the latest IPCC report at a street blockade, gluing to a window at Danske Bank to demand a stop to investments in fossil fuel companies expanding their production, and blocking a private jet terminal. The prosecutor aims for a jail sentence.

"It's terrifying that the people we've elected to secure our future are escalating the climate collapse with their eyes wide open. Millions of people are already displaced, starved, and murdered because of the climate collapse, and I can’t just sit and watch the people in power making it worse."

In Sweden

Dr. Ben Kenward
Held in jail for 6h

Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University Dr. Ben Kenward (UK) is being investigated with charges of sabotage after taking part in non-violent direct action in October 2023 pasting scientific papers at the Bromma airport, Stockholm.

"I've been personally smeared by a well-known right-wing blog simply for being both a researcher and an activist, and and it's not easy to have these two roles. But the climate emergency is so severe I feel a duty to spend some of the hard-earned social capital I have as a researcher."

Henrik Garbergs
Facing up to 8 months in prison, held in jail for 30+ days

Computer engineer Henrik Garbergs (Sweden) is facing prison after taking part in non-violent direct actions in Sweden, blocking the traffic on the highway to call for decisive action against the climate crisis: "what we do now will impact humanity forever."

Janine O'Keeffe (BSc, MBA)
Facing up to 4 years in prison for charges of sabotage

Janine O'Keeffe (left) has been charged with disturbing traffic, and two counts of sabotage in Sweden, as well as two counts of coercion and violence in Germany for gluing to a road. With her actions Janine O’Keeffe, who holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor degree in Engineering, was exercising her democratic right to demonstrate, using non-violent civil disobedience. However for her minor disruption Janine now faces up to 4 years of jail for sabotage, not to mention abuses on the internet and isolation from family members and friends.

​​​​​​​'‘If our justice system can’t put the Climate Laws of nature above traffic laws, then I belong in jail!
Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.
​​​​​​​As an engineer, the physics of the climate tipping points terrify me.”

In Italy

Fine from 2,500 to 15,000 euros as well as 2 to 5 years in prison

Mattia, a 21-year old student from Vercelli, is being investigated by the Italian police for having blindfolded a statue as part of the "Statue Sunday" campaign. On the statue he hanged a sign warning against the dangers of climate inaction. For this symbolic gesture he risks disproportionate fines for "damages to public heritage" after a law recently passed by the Italian government.

This is an intimidating, repressive attitude of a country that does not care about the climate crisis, does not care about the fact that many people will die in the coming decades if we do not act against the climate crisis.​​​​​​​ Instead of listening to us, the country prefers to report us, it prefers to treat us as criminals

Why are scientists and academics facing jail time?

As the climate crisis escalates and its consequences become increasingly hard to ignore, scientists are taking to the streets in larger numbers than ever before, demanding governments and politicians to urgently step up climate protection and to honor international and national obligations. Many governments, however, are taking the opposite direction: they sell new oil and gas licenses, and criminalize scientists and activists who are trying to peacefully raise the alarm.

In the coming weeks, more than 50 scientists and academics from Scientist Rebellion will be standing trial for having participated in acts of non-violent civil disobedience. Their charges range from vandalism to sabotage, and risk being sentenced to prison, or to heavy fines. At the same time, fossil fuel executives – who are most responsible for the climate emergency – rake in record profits from the destruction of our environment, and are allowed to walk free.

We ask you, who are the real criminals? Is it the governments and companies, who are actively complicit in the planetary crisis, or is it the messengers, the scientists and activists that are raising their voices to fight for a liveable future?

We think it is time we started doing the obvious: charge the real criminals, and listen to what scientists are desperately trying to say

Help by donating to their legal defense →

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