Stefania was sentenced to 14 days in prison for contempt of court on 16th April 2021 after gluing herself to furniture and livestreaming from the court room during her own plea hearing. Stefania took the action while appearing at City of London Magistrates’ Court charged with a Section 14 offence.
The charge followed her arrest during the September 2020 Rebellion for sitting in the road at Parliament Square and refusing to move when told to do so by a police officer. She pleaded guilty to that original offence and was given a six month conditional discharge and £107 court costs.
Transcript of Stefania’s pre-recorded video statement
“If you are listening to this message it is because I have been sent to prison for contempt of court. As an XR defendant, I have extended the campaign of peaceful civil disobedience into the courtroom.
I was arrested In September for protesting about the criminal inaction of our government. The argument of ‘Necessity’ does not seem to impress the judicial system, yet our actions are necessary and essential.
At this point, if you are not from Extinction rebellion you probably think I have lost my mind. For people living in relative comfort, the contrast between how we perceive things and how life is unfolding for the whole of humanity is stark. Yet we are not children and should not be fooled by appearances, or our children will pay the price for it.
The science is there for everyone to access.
If we keep going on our current trajectory, a conservative estimate tells us that we are heading towards a 2 degrees of warming by 2050 and 4 degrees by 2100.
Rising temperatures will desertify vast swathes of what is now inhabited land, crops will fail, floods, and extreme events will create between 200 million to 1 billion refugees in our world (data from the UN university). The Syrian refugee crisis, was ONLY 1 million refugees. A crisis 200 times larger is looming by 2050.
And it’s not just the near future, as I speak, 800 million people are already affected by climate change impacts. A 4°C future means the collapse of civilization as we know it.
So here is our necessity. If the court that fails to see it, then they are culpable too. This is why I have decided to disobey in the dock.
In doing this I am not alone. It is a spiritual relay. I’m grateful to all the women and some men too! who passed the baton along the way.
Facts can be grim. I found great beauty in this struggle when I realized that what Mother Earth needs to heal herself is exactly what we, as humans, really need to flourish. We have to hold that vision.
As a mother of two young children, I have not taken this action lightly. I spent numerous nights wrestling with doubts, fears, worrying for my family and just gripped by my heartbeat.
As I sat down in silence every day, listening to my deep motivations, everything slowly became clear.
I am acting out of radical love. I am acting out of the deepest love for children, not just my own, and the intricate web of life of which humans are just a part.
So much has been lost already. But there is so much more that we could lose. The time to act is Now.”
Stefania with fellow defendants Emma Powell (left) and Polly Westlake (centre) outside City of London Magistrates’ Court, April 2021.
Photo credit: Helena Smith
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