[Pnews] Water Protector Steve Martinez Taken Back Into Custody For Refusal to Cooperate with Grand Jury

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 4 19:35:33 EST 2021

Protector Steve Martinez Taken Back Into Custody For Refusal to Cooperate
with Grand Jury
March 4, 2021

Bismarck – Water Protector Steve Martinez was taken back into federal
custody in Bismarck, North Dakota yesterday following an appearance before
the federal Grand Jury. Martinez is also being fined $50 a day for every
day he maintains his refusal to give testimony. He continues to stand in
solidarity with his Indigenous relatives and Water Protectors by refusing
to testify or cooperate with this secretive and unjust process.

*More:*Water Protector Steve Martinez ordered to be released

On February 24th, after being jailed for 19 days for refusal to cooperate
with the Grand Jury subpoena served to him, Martinez said:

"I was served another subpoena before I was released, making it the third
one. My lawyers are working hard to keep me from being imprisoned for
standing up for my constitutional rights as an American citizen. After
having my rights stripped from me, I was imprisoned with no charges for 19
days. Even with the work of our legal team, the chances are high that I
will be imprisoned once again for up to 18 months or the duration of the
grand jury. I humbly ask for your continued prayers & support as I continue
to speak volumes through my silence. Thank you. MNI WICONI, WATER IS LIFE."

Martinez was previously subpoenaed in 2016 to a Grand Jury allegedly
seeking information regarding the injuries incurred by Sophia Wilansky in
November 2016 at Standing Rock; a now infamous night where law enforcement
used fire hoses on Water Protectors in freezing temperatures. Wilansky was
gravely injured, nearly losing her arm, and unable to receive emergency
medical transport due to the blockades implemented by law enforcement and
the State of North Dakota. Martinez acted as a good Samaritan on that
night, driving Wilanksy in his vehicle to receive emergency medical care.
He was then summoned to appear before a grand jury and refused to cooperate.

*More:*Indigenous Water Protector Jailed in North Dakota for Refusing to
Cooperate With Secret Grand Jury

Four years later, Martinez is once again being targeted by the government
and detained for his principled refusal to participate in a secret process
that has historically been highly susceptible to politically motivated
abuses. "The secrecy of federal grand jury proceedings and the unfettered
power and discretion that federal prosecutors have in the proceedings makes
federal grand juries ripe for abuse against dissident political activists
and their movements," said James Clark, a lawyer with the National Lawyers
Guild. "Mr. Martinez's saga with federal grand juries seems to have already
been characterized by a number of procedural abuses and irregularities,
such as his incarceration last month by a magistrate judge who lacked legal
authority to order it," Clark continued.

Chava Shapiro, a legal worker and supporter of Martinez since 2016 said:

“We are all standing in solidarity with his choice to invoke his
constitutionally protected right to silence to the Grand Jury. Political
activists know that Grand Juries have historically been used as a tool of
political repression against Indigenous people in their efforts to maintain
sovereignty, push the United States government to honor treaties, and
achieve self-determination for their relatives and nations. The best and
safest choice for Steve and for all those who protect the water is to
maintain silence in the face of this Grand Jury.”

*K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal.
He can be reached at kboyer at gannett.com <kboyer at gannett.com>, or by phone
at (701) 662-2127.  *

*Be sure to follow Devils Lake Journal on our twitter page,
@devilslakenews,** and like us on Facebook! *
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