NLG, HRW, and 40+ Human and Environmental Rights Organizations Condemn the State Repression Against Cop City Protesters

April 10, 2023
Contact: Director of Communications
(212) 679-5100, ext. 5

New York, NY — On Monday, April 10, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Human Rights Watch, Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR), and more than 40 other human and environmental rights organizations co-issued a statement condemning the prosecution of activists and forest defenders in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Prosecutors in Georgia are launching a terrifying attack on our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly,” said NLG President Suzanne Adely. “The legal community must join together in solidarity with the activists in Atlanta. This kind of state repression threatens our collective ability to advocate for justice.”

“The Southern Center for Human Rights has for decades supported the right to dissent by representing and coordinating defense for protesters,” said SCHR Public Policy Director, Tiffany Williams Roberts. “This dangerous escalation by the state toward the community, inclusive of aggressive prosecution of lawful protest, underscores the harm that would be perpetuated by Cop City.”

In the statement, NLG states:

“All persons arrested are entitled to reach out to community support and legal counsel, regardless of the evidence of their guilt. Here, police arrested 23 individuals at a music festival — conduct entirely protected by the First Amendment — and held many in pretrial detention, punishing people for involvement in activist movements without conviction of any crime. Prosecutors have charged them, astonishingly, with domestic terrorism. It appears that prosecutors have endeavored to substitute evidence of constitutionally protected activity for probable cause or meaningful evidence of unlawful conduct. This is legally insupportable and an exercise in extreme bad faith.”

The statement is available in full on the NLG website at 

The National Lawyers Guild has used law to promote human rights over property interests for 85 years. The NLG Legal Observer program trains volunteers to witness police conduct. For more information about NLG’s activist support programs, please visit the NLG website.


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