Palestinian rights advocates prevail as D.C. court dismisses lawsuit against American Studies Academics
The D.C. Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit against the American Studies Association (ASA) and some of its former leaders for a 2013 resolution endorsing the academic boycott against Israel. The court found last week that the claims primarily arose from advocacy on an issue of public interest and were not likely to succeed. Those targeted by the suit included our client Dr. Steven Salaita, an advocate for Palestinian rights – we secured dismissal of all the claims against him under a D.C. law to deter SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
“I welcome the judge's decision to dismiss this long-running lawsuit as a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Salaita. “I am happy to finally be freed of this burden and hope that the ruling will deter pro-Israel outfits with no means of winning a debate beyond harassment and defamation from trying to impoverish those of us committed to the wellbeing of the Palestinian people.”
Federal judge: CA prison officials retaliated against man whose lawsuit led to end of long-term solitary confinement
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has found that for more than five years, high-level California Department of Corrections (CDCR) officials retaliated against Todd Ashker for his role in the lawsuit that led to the end of long-term solitary confinement in the state. In a 65-page order made public last week, Judge Wilken finds that officials in Sacramento headquarters directed an effort to manipulate the housing review process to ensure that Ashker remained in a restrictive segregated unit.
In 2012, Ashker and his cellmate Danny Troxell filed the landmark class-action lawsuit that challenged CDCR’s practice of warehousing thousands of people for decades in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison. Ashker was also one of the leaders of the statewide hunger strikes that helped secure the 2015 settlement that effectively ended long-term solitary. Last year, the court found continued systemic constitutional violations in California’s prisons and required the settlement be extended for the second time.
Judge Wilken’s order comes in response to a motion to enforce the anti-retaliation provision of the settlement.
After 15 months on the road, the acclaimed documentary BOYCOTT is now available worldwide on streaming services. The new trailer, which opens featuring our Executive Director Vince Warren, is here.
BOYCOTT traces the impact of new state laws that silence boycotts and other nonviolent measures aimed at pressuring Israel on its human rights record. Aside from voting, a boycott is one of the few ways individuals have to exert influence. “There are a number of examples of how boycotts have been used effectively where people withhold their money, withhold their labor, withhold their time, until things change,” Vince says in the film. “And to have a proliferation of bills that are criminalizing or penalizing that is really really troubling and problematic.”
With full access to the plaintiffs and in revelatory moments with elected officials, BOYCOTT chronicles one of the most consequential First Amendment battles of the past few decades and investigates the question – how did we get here?
More information on the film’s website.
Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe, and the U.S., this documentary follows 76-year-old retired builder John Shipton’s tireless campaign to save his son, Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over the freedom of journalism, government corruption, and unpunished war crimes.
Now with Julian facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the U.S., his family members are
confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the U.S. justice system. With Julian’s health declining in a British maximum security prison and U.S. government prosecutors attempting to extradite him to face trial, the clock is ticking.
Weaving historic archival and intimate behind-the-scenes footage, this story tracks John’s journey alongside Julian’s fiancée, Stella Moris, as they join forces to advocate for Julian. We witness John embark on a European odyssey to rally a global network of supporters, advocate to politicians, and cautiously step into the media’s glare – where he is forced to confront events that made Julian a global flashpoint.
Visit the film’s website to find screenings near you.
March 7, 2023