Capitol storm: two far-right leaders sentenced to 17 and 15 years in prison

In the United States, two leaders of the far-right group Proud Boys were sentenced Thursday, August 31, to 17 and 15 years in prison. They were convicted of six counts, including sedition, in connection with the January 2021 storming of the Capitol.

Zachary Rehl (left) and Joseph Biggs (right), two members of the Proud Boys, take over the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021 to challenge Joe Bien as President of the United States. AP - Carolyn Kaster

By: RFI Follow


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While these sentences are among the heaviest handed down to participants in the events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, they remain far below the sentences requested by federal prosecutors. Prosecutors had sought 33 years in prison for ex-military Joseph Biggs for driving 200 members of the Proud Boys to the Capitol to prevent certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory, and 30 years in prison for Zachary Rehl, a former Marine, for helping coordinate the assault and spraying a police officer with irritating gas.

Their lawyer argued that the two defendants were first "guilty of believing Donald Trump who told them they were being robbed of their country." In the end, Justice Timothy Kelly insisted on the break that constitutes the assault of January 6 in "the tradition of peaceful transfer of power" but also considered that Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl had "not intended to kill".

Five people, including a police officer, were killed during or shortly after the assault, and more than 140 police officers were injured. Since then, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested and charged. More than half were sentenced, most of them to prison terms.

" READ ALSO Storming the Capitol: the leader of the extreme right Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years in prison

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  • United States
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