United States v. Zenon and Saade – Puerto Rico – CCR Docket 1987-1988

In 1974 the United States Navy moved its military bombing range in Puerto Rico from the island of Culebra to the island of Vieques, thus severely restricting the activities of many Vieques residents who made their living from the fishing indus­try. Island residents and others organized protest actions arguing that Navy bomb­ing practice would adversely affect the fish­ing industry and upset the area’s delicate ecological balance.

Eleven small fishing boats entered the restricted target area and prevented the tests in January 1980. Carlos Zenon, president of the Vieques Fishermen’s Associa­tion, and Pedro Saade, one of its lawyers, were in one of the boats and were subse­quently arrested.

A U.S. court found the two guilty of tres­pass and gave them the maximum sen­tence of six months in prison. The CCR, along with the Instituto Puertorriqueno de Derechos Civiles, appealed the conviction. The case was remanded by the court of appeals for further hearings. A motion to dismiss was denied and we are preparing for retrial.

Michael Ratner, Margaret Ratner, with Jose Antonio Lugo and CCR cooperating attorneys Peter Berkowitz and Pedro Varela, Instituto Puertorriqueno de Derechos Ciuiles, and Gre­gorio Lima