On May 22, a Madagascar appeals court announced its decision to uphold the conviction of a farmer turned environmental activist who was convicted on criminal charges after questioning a mining company about its permits. The case began last September, when the farmer, who goes by the name Raleva, confronted representatives from Mac Lai Sima Gianna, a Chinese-Malagasy gold mining company, during a meeting in his village of Vohilava. Raleva asked to see the company’s permits, which had not in fact been granted. But he was arrested on charges of impersonating a local official, charges that local people and human rights groups say were trumped up. In October, Raleva was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, but immediately released on parole--a common tactic in Madagascar that appears to be aimed at silencing opposition, according to human rights groups. Advocacy groups are now trying to put together a legal team that can take the case to Madagascar’s Supreme Court. For the full story, see