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This is the highest sentence to date related to the assault on the Capitol. One of the figures of the American far right, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced Thursday to eighteen years in prison for “sedition”. The founder of the “Oath Keepers” militia adopted a defiant posture until the end: “I am a political prisoner”, “my only crime is to oppose those who destroy our country”, he said. launched just before being fixed on his sentence.
Federal Judge Amit Mehta snapped him in his place: “You are NOT a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,” he said. You are here because twelve jurors (…) have found you guilty of sedition”, “one of the most serious crimes an American can commit”.
Lack of remorse
This leader, who involves having planned the use of force against the government, is liable to twenty years in prison. But the prosecutors had required twenty-five years against Stewart Rhodes, relying on a device which makes it possible to raise the sentences for acts of a “terrorist” nature. Without completely following them, Judge Mehta endorsed their analysis on this point. “Acts of intimidation or coercion that are intended to burden the government” fall into this category, he said.
He also justified the severity of the sentence by the leadership role of Stewart Rhodes, a 58-year-old ex-serviceman, and his lack of remorse. “You represent a persistent threat and a danger to the country,” asserted the magistrate.
During his trial, the tribune had denied “planning” the attack and maintained that the “mission” of the Oath Keepers was to provide security for the demonstration called by Donald Trump to denounce alleged “electoral fraud”.
Claiming to have been presented with a fait accompli, he had considered “stupid” that Kelly Meggs, who heads the Florida section of the Oath Keepers, entered the Capitol. “It opened the door to our political persecution,” he said.