Skip navigation

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

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.

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.

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.

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 works on environmental conflicts stemming from carbon offsets:

"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 under custody for 7 days

Research scientist in hydrology

"As a water cycle scientist, I am here today because our states are failing us despite having a documented consensus at hand: This is an environmental emergency, we need immediate change."

Víctor De Santos Herranz
Held under custody for 7 days

Environmental scientist

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."

Leonardo Rebeschini (MSc)
Held under custody for 7 days

Leonardo Rebeschini (MSc in Physics and Cosmology) is facing trial in Munich on October 24th 2023 for 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".

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 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.

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.

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

"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.

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.

Dr Nikoline Borgermann
Held in jail for up to 30h

Researcher in Biochemistry Dr Nikoline Borgermann (Denmark) is awaiting trial after taking part in non-violent direct actions in Copenhagen, including 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, and blocking a private jet terminal.

In Sweden

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.”

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.

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."

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.