The founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, during a Donald Trump rally in October 2019 in Minneapolis.

The founder and leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, has been sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in prison for leading the mass assault on the Capitol to try to keep former US President Donald Trump in power despite the electoral victory of Democrat Joe Biden.

It is the harshest sentence handed down so far against a defendant for the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Before reading the sentence, District Judge Amit Mehta stressed that "at all" a group of citizens, just because they did not like the outcome of the election or believed that the law was enforced as it should, can be allowed to foment a revolution. "That's what you did," he said.

In the hearing where his sentence has been read, Rhodes has considered himself a victim and has assured that he is "a political prisoner and, like former President Trump, my only crime is to oppose those who are destroying our country." An allegation that has been answered by the judge, who has reminded him that "you are not a political prisoner, you are here as a result of your actions. It poses an ongoing threat and danger to this country, to the republic and to the very fabric of our democracy."

On Nov. 29, Rhodes was convicted of conspiracy to commit sedition by a federal jury in Washington.

Judge Amit Mehta has granted the prosecution's request for aggravated sentences for "terrorism" on the grounds that the Oath Keepers tried to influence the government through "intimidation or coercion".

(Taken from Public)