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LEWISTON, Idaho -- Eight members on the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee arrested during megaload protests last month won't have to give up their seats if convicted.

The tribe's Constitution and Bylaws states that tribal members have to forfeit office if convicted of any criminal offense.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the tribal members arrested during the protests of giant oil refinery equipment crossing Nez Perce tribal land are charged with public nuisance infractions. The Nez Perce Tribal Code defines those as civil, not criminal.

The 28 tribal members arrested include eight of the nine executive committee members.

The American Indian group contends the route isn't appropriate and the shipments could cause irreparable harm to its people's traditional cultural and treaty rights.

A federal judge Friday blocked the shipments Friday.

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