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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Eco-Terrorist Given a Reading List for Prison

(CN) - Really throwing the book in sentencing, a federal judge in Portland, Ore., ordered a Canadian eco-terrorist to read Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath" behind bars.

Speaking from the bench, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken reportedly told Rebecca Rubin that Gladwell's latest bestseller during her five-year sentence could teach her nonviolent means to protesting matters she perceives as unjust.

The Canadian Press, a Toronto-based news agency, said Aiken also directed Rubin to read Nature's Trust by University of Oregon environmental law professor Mary Wood.

Rubin had been charged in January 2006 with engaging in a conspiracy with several other radicals, known collectively as "The Family," to set as many as 20 fires in several western states between 1996 and 2001.

Targets included a ski resort in Colorado, wild horse corrals in Northern California and Oregon, lumber mills, and a Forest Service office, also in Oregon.

Rubin pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson charges in October.

In addition to jail time and her reading assignments, Rubin must also pay more than $13 million in restitution upon her release and perform 200 hours of community service.

Prosecutors had hoped for a stiffer sentence because Rubin refused to disclose information about her co-conspirators, two of whom remain at large. They contended that her stubborn refusal to talk to investigators has made her a "virtual heroine" among environmental extremists.

Rubin's attorney, Richard Troberman, rejected that assertion, telling reporters his clients does not consider herself a hero or a celebrity.

Judge Aiken seemed to agree, stating from the bench that she believed Rubin, a Canadian citizen, showed contrition by returning to the United States and surrendering to the FBI.

No one was injured or killed during the arson attacks. Rubin is the 11th person to plead guilty to conspiracy and arson charges in connection with the fires.

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