[Ppnews] Grand Jury To Attempt To Elicit Info on Rebels
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 10 19:40:48 EST 2008
Three Summoned to Brooklyn Federal Court For
Suspected Ties To Puerto Rican Independence Movement
by Brooklyn Eagle
(<mailto:edit at brooklyneagle.net>edit at brooklyneagle.net),
published online 01-10-2008
Grand Jury To Attempt To Elicit Info on Rebels
By Ryan Thompson
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CADMAN PLAZA EAST Three Puerto Ricans with
alleged ties to the independence movement in
Puerto Rico have been subpoenaed to appear in
Brooklyn Federal Court Friday to answer to a grand jury.
Graphic designer Tania Frontera, social worker
Christopher Torres and filmmaker Julio Antonio
Pabon are due in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of New York Friday. There are
also indications that the FBI is trying to locate
and subpoena Hector Rivera, one of the founders
of the Welfare Poets, a New York-based collective of activists and poets.
Expected to have caused organized protests in
Puerto Rico Thursday night, the investigation of
these individuals by the FBI and U.S. Department
of Justice also sparked New York City Council
members to gather on the steps of City Hall
Thursday in opposition to the subpoenas.
They may just be rounding up people without any
connection, said Councilwoman Melissa
Mark-Viverito, who led the gathering of elected
officials. Council members Annabel Palma, Gale
Brewer, Miguel Martinez and Rosie Mendez joined
her in the sentiment. They are all worried that
the government is using the grand jury mechanism
as a means of stifling legitimate dissent.
We are concerned with these tactics of using
grand jury intimidation and harassing those who
support or oppose movements that are legal and
constitutionally protected, said Mark-Viverito.
She said that she was unaware of any possible
connection between these individuals and any insurgent groups.
The subpoenas are thought to be part of a probe
into the Macheteros, a rebel pro-independence
group in Puerto Rico whose leader, Filiberto
Ojeda Rios, was killed by FBI agents in a
shootout in 2005. The Macheteros (the Machete
Wielders) are best known for their $7 million
Wells Fargo robbery in Connecticut in 1983, one
of the biggest cash robberies in U.S. history.
Media sources connected more intimately with the
events in Puerto Rico have characterized the
three individuals as people who are somewhat
involved with the Puerto Rican independence
movement. El Diario/La Prensa called the three
individuals Boricua pro-independence activists,
and The Latin America Solidarity Coalition, a
grassroots U.S.-based association of Latin
American groups, said that it condemns the FBI
harassment of Puerto Rican independence activists.
These FBI visits and the subsequent serving of
these subpoenas are designed to put those who
refuse to cooperate with this fishing
expedition in jail, and to intimidate the Puerto
Rican community as a whole, the coalition said in a statement.
Spokesmen from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys Office
in Brooklyn said that they cannot comment on or
confirm grand jury proceedings, which under federal law are secret.
However, it appears clear that the subpoenas were
issued in order for a grand jury to question the
three individuals, not to indict or charge them with any crimes.
© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2007
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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