United States - Journalist arrested during Republican National Convention faces over one year in prison for parole violation



    MONTREAL, Oct. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is asking for
the judge to show clemency for journalist Jason Nicholas, independent
photographer for the New York Post, currently in jail in Rikers Island, NY for
parole violation. Jason Nicholas is scheduled for another parole hearing in
front of an administrative judge on October 15th. He was one of over
40 journalists arrested while covering the Republican National Convention on
September 1st. While most charges against other journalists in St.Paul have
been dropped, Mr. Nicholas has not yet been cleared of obstruction to the
legal process.
    "These pending charges are hurting his chances of being restored to
parole" commented his lawyer Wylie Stecklow. "Jason is a remarkable example of
successful rehabilitation. He did not break his parole with any intention to
commit a criminal act. He was at the Convention working, which is actually a
positive thing. The violation should be seen as a technical one and the
penalty should reflect that. Otherwise, the publics' faith in the true
integrity of the correctional and parole systems would be jeopardized."
    "The fact that Jason Nicholas didn't have the appropriate paperwork to
travel to another state is not a sufficient reason to send him to jail. To be
able to carry out his work, a journalist needs to be able to travel freely. At
the end of the day, it is absurd that Jason Nicholas would be imprisoned for
the very activity that confirms its full reintegration to society" stated
Reporters Without Borders.
    The international press freedom organization has written to the
administrative judge presiding over Mr. Nicholas's case asking that the
charges in Minnesota not influence his decision and that the journalist be
released: "Jason should not have been arrested for simply doing his job. We
have denounced the arrests of reporters in Minneapolis as overzealous and
abusive. The fact that Jason Nicholas has not been cleared as the other
reporters were is incomprehensible and unfair" said the press freedom
organization "While we do understand that there must be repercussions to any
parole contravention, we believe that in this case the penalty should fit the
violation."
    Mr. Nicholas, who has already spent more than 4 weeks in prison, faces up
to 14 months in prison.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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