Picketer Jailed

Keith Henson has been arrested in Prescott, Arizona and faces extradition to California, facing a one-year prison sentence resulting from his peaceful protests at Scientology's desert compound.

Keith Henson was arrested Friday, Feb. 2 in Prescott, Arizona.

Henson was convicted of "interfering with a religion" in 2001 after he picketed Scientology's base in the California desert. The jury was misled into thinking he had posted jokes about "Cruise missiles" (as in Tom Cruise) to the internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology; the posts in question were not made by him, but even if they had been, that does not constitute a credible threat as required by law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a press release after his conviction expressing grave concern that he had been convicted for exercising his free speech rights.

There were numerous anomalies during his trial (including a summons that was never mailed to him, which would have left him in contempt of court if he hadn't found out about the hearing another way).

Henson has a medical condition requiring regular medication; he has received death threats and has grave fears for his safety if he is required to serve his sentence.

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