George Dvorsky reports: Keith Henson, an outspoken anti-Scientology activist, was arrested last night and is currently being held at the Prescott Detention Center in Arizona. His wife, Arel Lucas, says he was taken into custody on a 6-year old bench warrant issued by a Riverside County judge.
Henson’s troubles began in 2001 when he was convicted of “interfering with a religion”, a misdemeanor under California law, for picketing outside Scientology‘s facility in Hemet, CA. He eventually fled to Canada after receiving a number of death threats. He was deported in 2005 after his asylum bid was rejected.
Lucas strongly suspects that the Church of Scientology is involved in Henson’s current incarceration and fears for both his life and her own. The death threats have been constant since 2001. Scientology’s power and reach has become considerable in recent years, leading to accusations that it is not so much a cult as it is an organized crime outfit that disguises itself as a religious organization.
In addition to his anti-Scientology activism, Henson is a pioneer in the transhumanist and cryonics movements. After receiving word of Henson’s incarceration, the transhumanist community quickly mobilized. The Prescott Detention Center has been inundated with calls from concerned supporters. Various media outlets have been alerted (including BoingBoing), and a number of Websites have already been set up to raise awareness in support od Henson’s cause (including Free Keith Henson). The Extropy Institute has set up fund to help Henson with mounting costs.
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