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Climate activist jailed for 10 months over JP Morgan protest

Four others receive suspended sentences after smashing revolving door at fossil fuel industry’s top financier

A CLIMATE activist was jailed for 10 months today after taking direct action at JP Morgan over the bank’s role as the fossil fuel industry’s top financier.

Five Extinction Rebellion activists were sentenced at Inner London Crown Court for smashing a glass revolving door and a large glazed panel at the bank’s European headquarters in 2021. 

Activists had also hung up posters saying “break glass in case of climate emergency.”

JP Morgan, which is valued at a staggering half a trillion dollars, claimed the action caused £306,000 worth of criminal damage.

The firm committed $40.8bn (£31.8bn) to fossil fuels in 2023 — more than any other bank.

It has pumped $430 bn (£334bn) into the industry since the 2016 Paris Agreement, making targets to limit global warming to 1.5°C increasingly unachievable. 

Amy Pritchard, an agricultural and woodland worker, was given a 12-month sentence which was reduced to 10 months due to overcrowding.

Stephanie Aylett, a former medical device representative; Pamela Bellinger, a vegetable grower; Adelheid Russenberger, a PhD student; and Rosemary Webster, a retired cook and beekeeper, were given a total of 45 months suspended sentences between them plus a total of 330 hours of unpaid work in their communities.

All five women have lodged appeals citing abuse of process by Judge Silas Reid.

During the trial in March, Judge Reid threatened the jurors with criminal charges if they applied their conscience to the case saying: “It is only on the evidence you are able to try the case and not on conscience.”

Before she was sent to jail, Ms Pritchard said: “I support and stand by proportionate and appropriate action to prevent harm. 

“I call on people to continue to engage with injustice with as much courage as possible.”

Ms Pritchard had previously been sent to prison by Judge Reid for contempt of court after speaking about climate change after she was ordered not to use it in her defence at trial. 

Campaigner Natasha Walter said: “As with the Suffragettes who broke the law in order to make the case for progressive change, these women should not be seen as criminals.

“The real criminals are those who, despite all the evidence that we are on track to create an unliveable climate for future generations, continue to pour money into oil and gas and continue to drive us into a dangerously warming world.”

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