When French anti-globalism activist Jose Bove destroyed a field of genetically improved rice in 1999, he probably never thought it would come to this. But on Tuesday, France’s highest court of appeals decided to throw him in the clink.
Bove is expected to serve 14 months in prison: 6 months for the biotech rice attack, and 8 months for a similar crime in 1998. He was also fined 3,000 Euros (roughly $3,000) last week for a separate attack on genetically enhanced crops, and $7,600 in connection with the 1999 case. That biotech rice rampage caused $550,000 in damage.
The New York Times is reporting that Bove has asked French President Jacques Chirac for a pardon. Although Chirac is “unlikely to intervene,” says the Times, he “praised Mr. Bove at the time of [his] attack” on a McDonald’s restaurant in 1999. When asked whether he would actually go to jail, Bove referred to his sentence (not his crime) as “a serious violation.”
Bove, who has personally destroyed at least 10 test plots of biotech food crops, has become the darling of techno-phobic activist leaders in recent years. But not everyone is enthralled with his message. This week, one Internet opinion website is featuring a “Make Jose Bove Serve His Time” petition. “If the French won’t enforce their laws and keep Bove in prison,” the petition’s authors write, “they should revoke his passport to prevent him from spreading his violence and destruction, as he did in launching the  riots and destruction in Seattle.”