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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 11:11 GMT
US journalist in record jail term
Josh Wolf from joshwolf.net
"I cannot be coerced," said Josh Wolf on his web blog
A reporter in California has now passed the mark for the longest jail time served in US history for failing to hand over source material.

At midnight on Tuesday, Josh Wolf entered his 169th day in custody for refusing to hand over a video of an anti-capitalist rally in 2005.

Activists have condemned his jailing but no date has been set to free him.

Houston freelancer Vanessa Leggett served 168 days in 2001/02 for failing to reveal information on a murder case.


Wolf, 24, had shot video footage of a violent San Francisco protest against the G-8 summit that was taking place in Scotland at the time.

He sold some of the footage to TV stations but refused to obey a subpoena to hand over the rest of the tape to police.

A police car was burned and an officer suffered a fractured skull in the violence.

Although Californian laws protect journalists from revealing material, prosecutors successfully argued federal money helped pay for the police car, thus making it a federal case.

Judges have since refused appeals for Wolf's release, saying he is not constitutionally protected over grand jury investigations or criminal trials.

Wolf remained defiant, saying on his web blog on Tuesday: "I cannot be coerced."

Lucie Morillon, the Washington director of Reporters Without Borders, said: "Keeping Wolf in jail is absurd and cruel. It is a bad signal sent to the rest of the world.

"We would have expected a democratic country such as the United States to put the bar higher regarding press freedom."

Wolf's lawyers are to continue to try to get their client freed. He could remain behind bars until the expiry of the grand jury in July, although then prosecutors can apply to have his imprisonment extended.

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