ethecon awardee Diane Wilson banned from capitol in Washington DC

On Friday, August 20, Diane Wilson┤s hearing took place at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington. While the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico seems to have no repercussions on the managers of BP responsible for it, the International ethecon Blue Planet Awardee 2006, Diane Wilson, was threatened with three charges and a possible two and a half years in prison because of her protest against BP.

In all, shrimper Diane Wilson was facing 840 days in prison for her peaceful protest actions during a Committee hearing in the US Senate and the hearing of BP CEO Tony Hayward. During her court hearing on Friday, the judge refrained from sending her to jail - on the condition that she does not get arrested for a 9 months, anywhere in the United States. Not an easy condition for the environmental and political activist. On top of that, she is banned from the US capitol grounds, which makes further protest actions in the capitol impossible for her.

There were two reasons for this court hearing. One was a Senate Energy Committee hearing, during which Diane Wilson poured fake oil on herself in order to protest the blocking of a bill that was supposed to lift the oil companies‚ liability cap (the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act). The other reason was her demanding, with her hands and face covered in black fake oil, that BP CEO Hayward should be charged with a crime. This happened during Hayward‘s hearing by members of the US Congress.

Wilson stated that since she cannot speak on the Capitol grounds or any of the Senate or House committee rooms, she will speak with a different voice. As a cofounder of CodePink, a grassroots activist group of women concerned about peace, social and environmental justice, she will begin a hungerstrike to raise consciousness to end offshore drilling and to push a legislative bill to lift the liability cap on oil companies, making them pay the full damages. In other words, the polluter pays. Wilson plans to officially announce the hungerstrike at a labor day rally, Spill into Washington, on September 3-4.

„ethecon - Foundation Ethics & Economics“ considers the non-violent protest actions of their awardee as part of her right to the freedom of speech. Axel K÷hler-Schnura, chairman of the foundation‚s board, is shocked by the outcome of the court hearing: „The BP company has caused the death of eleven people and one of the worst environmental disasters of all times with its reckless greed for profit. Instead of punishing the culprits, the govenment has sided with the corporations and muzzles their critics. Back to ,business as usual‘. No-one has learned from the disaster.“

In 2006, Diane Wilson was presented with the International ethecon Blue Planet Award 2006 for her courageous effort to save the Blue Planet. The shrimper and mother of five has been fighting against the destruction of one of the most species-rich habitats of the world, the Gulf of Mexico, for decades.

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