[Ppnews] Anti-war, International Solidarity Activists Refuse to Cooperate with Grand Jury

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 6 12:46:30 EDT 2010

Grand Jury Resistance Project
For Immediate Release: October 6, 2010
Contact: Kris Hermes 510-681-6361 / http://grandjuryresistance.org

Anti-war, International Solidarity Activists Refuse to Cooperate with 
Grand Jury
As activists thwart attempts to harass & intimidate, government must 
decide whether to grant immunity

Chicago, IL -- Several anti-war and international solidarity 
activists announced their refusal yesterday to testify before a grand 
jury convened in Chicago, allegedly investigating "material support" 
of groups the federal government has designated as "terrorists." The 
first of a set of hearings was scheduled to start October 5th, but 
the government withdrew the subpoenas in response to activists 
asserting their Fifth Amendment right, and now must consider whether 
to offer them immunity. According to the Associated Press, all of the 
14 activists subpoenaed within the past two weeks are refusing to 
testify, a considerable setback for the federal government.

"We believe we have been targeted because of what we believe, what we 
say and who we know," said Stephanie Weiner, one of the subpoenaed 
activists refusing to cooperate with the grand jury. Denouncing the 
government's use of the grand jury as a "fishing expedition," and an 
attempt to intimidate activists, Weiner told a crowd rallying 
yesterday in front of the Dirksen Federal Building that "we will not 
be silent." Rallies were held yesterday in Chicago, Minneapolis and 
other U.S. cities to protest what activists are calling a "witch hunt."

Weiner and her husband, Joe Iosbaker, were among several members of 
the Freedom Road Socialist Organization whose homes and offices were 
raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Chicago and 
Minneapolis on September 24th. Additional activists have been 
questioned by the FBI in California, Michigan, North Carolina and 
Wisconsin as part of the same investigation. The FBI seized 
computers, cell phones, organizational paperwork, and other personal 
items in the raids.

On the same day as the FBI raids, and on the following Monday, the 
federal government issued a total of 14 subpoenas to compel activists 
to testify before a federal grand jury, ostensibly investigating 
connections between anti-war and international solidarity activists, 
and groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), 
Hezbollah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, 
which are designated "terrorist" organizations by the U.S. government.

International solidarity activists believe that the government is 
attempting to use a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Holder v. 
Humanitarian Law Project, to derail and criminalize their efforts to 
support the liberation of Colombian and Palestinian people. 
Historically, the government has chosen to prosecute individuals and 
organizations that provide monetary support to groups designated as 
"terrorists," but the Humanitarian Law Project ruling interprets 
"material support" to even include political speech.

"Grand juries have been used for decades by the federal government as 
a tool of political repression," said Kris Hermes of the Grand Jury 
Resistance Project. "Grand juries conduct secret investigations, 
deprive legal counsel to those subpoenaed, and can jail you for 
refusing to testify," continued Hermes. "There is no place for 
politically motivated grand juries in a democratic society."

If the government chooses to offer immunity to the subpoenaed 
activists, and they still refuse to testify they can be charged with 
civil or criminal contempt. If found guilty of civil contempt, 
activists could be jailed up to the length of the grand jury, 
typically 18 months, in an attempt to coerce their testimony. A 
charge of criminal contempt, however, can result in a far longer 
sentence, the length of which is left to the court's discretion.

For more information on these cases, see: http://stopfbi.net

Freedom Archives
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