In June 2001, 23-year-old forest defense activist Jeffrey “Free” Luers was sentenced to 22 years and 8 months in prison for a Eugene, Oregon arson. Free and his co-defendant Critter set fire to three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) at a local car dealership to raise awareness about global warming and the role that the gas-guzzlers play in the process. No one was hurt in this action nor was that their intent.
An arson specialist at trial confirmed that the action did not pose any threat to people based on its size and distance from any fuel source. Despite the fact that no one was hurt, that only $40,000 in damages were caused, and the cars were later resold, Free was sent to prison for a sentence considerably longer than those convicted of murder, kidnapping and rape in Oregon. Free is a political prisoner and continues to write and agitate for his release while imprisoned at Oregon State Penitentiary. His appeal was filed in January 2002 and is ongoing.
Recently, Free issued the following statement:
“On January 6, Craig “Critter” Marshall, my co-defendant walked out of prison after serving 4-1/2 years. I can only imagine what that felt like. Back in the day, Critter was one of my closest friends, and while many are aware that he and I have had a falling out, I am truly glad his time is done and he has gone home. (My old friend if you are reading this, I wish you all the best.)
“Now that Critter is out, I can’t help but wonder why I am still here. We were arrested at the same time, charged with the same offenses. Up until the very end he and I refused to cooperate with the state. Yet, the state in Critter’s case decided that the exact same fire was only “conspiracy to commit arson” and “possession of destructive devices.” I’ve half a dozen theories as to why things played out the way they did. The one fact I know is not once did the state offer to treat my case as Critter’s.
“I’m doing 17 years more for the same actions and same evidence. Twenty-two years for actions that hurt no one and caused less than $50k in damages. Critter is home now where he belongs. I’m counting on this movement. I’m counting on you to bring me home. I can’t win this fight alone. I need your support. I need your agitation. Make the impossible reality.
“Rise up and free all political prisoners and prisoners of war. We are in prison because we believe in dreams. We are in prison because we believe in freedom. We are in prison because we believe these things are worth fighting for. Dare to believe. Dare to resist.”
Jeffrey “Free” Luers
2605 State Street
Salem, OR 97310
For more information: www.freefreenow.org, www.breakthechains.net. To support Free’s legal defense send a check or money order to: Free’s Defense Network, POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440.