22 January 2009

Animal defenders have been behind bars for a long time

LONDON, January 21. A British court has sentenced seven activists of an animal rights organization to imprisonment for a term of 4 to 11 years for blackmail against employees of firms that conducted biomedical experiments with animals, ITAR-TASS reports.

Members of the organization "Stop Cruelty to Animals in Huntingdon", as it was stated at the trial, unleashed a campaign of "urban terrorism" against researchers who conducted experiments on animals and turned their lives into "real hell".

For six years, starting in 2001, activists literally terrorized employees of the Huntingdon Life Sciences research Laboratory, located in the Cambridge area, and about 40 companies cooperating with it in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Victims of blackmail received threatening phone calls, and by mail — parcels containing dummy explosive devices, as well as needles, accompanied by notes that they were infected with the AIDS virus. Activists left offensive inscriptions such as "Scumbag" or "Puppy Killer" on the homes of people targeted by the intimidation campaign.

The investigation believes that one of the goals of these actions "was to intimidate scientists and actually negate the possibility of dialogue," RIA Novosti reports.

Taking into account the seriousness of the actions committed by the "animal defenders", the court sentenced the leaders of the organization, 41-year-old Gregg Avery and his 39-year-old wife Natasha, to nine years in prison. Another activist of the organization, Heather Nicholson, received 11 years in prison.

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