New York: Anarchist Gerald Koch imprisoned for refusal to cooperate with Grand Jury

From Jerry Resists:

Jerry was taken into custody of US marshals today at 4:18 PM. Throughout his hearing, he did not answer any questions; he remained silent the entire time.

About sixty people showed in support of Jerry. The court room was packed, and he knew as he was taken by the marshals that we support and love him. The crowd yelled out their support for him as he was escorted out of the room.

Jerry asked that we release this statement to his supporters after his incarceration:

By the time you read this, I will be in the custody of the United States government for continuing my refusal to cooperate with a federal grand jury. This is the right thing to do.

I continue to believe that the government is using this federal grand jury in an abusive manner to force me to divulge information about my political associations and social networks.

If we mean what we say when we talk about radical politics, then we do not participate in witch hunts, inquisitions, or the assembly of black lists. As an individual, I will not lend legitimacy to government brutality and intimidation; I will not be used. As an anarchist, I will summon the courage to be stronger than the forces of the State’s all-too-real repression; I will not break.

Your show of truly powerful support has done nothing but strengthen my resolve in refusing to cooperate. We must not let ourselves be isolated by the government’s heavy-handed tactics. We must not give the state that last inch it tries to break in every one of us.

With Love, with Dignity, in Solidarity

Jerry Koch

If you haven’t already, please sign up for a recurring donation so that we can ensure that Jerry has immediate access to his commissary and will be able to be in touch with his loved ones. You can sign up and make donations at Jerry’s support site at jerryresists.net

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NYC: Anarchist Gerald Koch refuses to cooperate with Grand Jury

gerlad kochFrom the New York Times:

A Brooklyn man has said that he will refuse to testify before a federal grand jury that is believed to be looking into the explosion of a homemade bomb in Times Square in 2008, setting the stage for a confrontation that could send him to jail for contempt of court.

Gerald Koch has said that he was not implicated in the 2008 bombing, but would risk contempt of court charges to protest what he called “government intimidation.”

A lawyer for the man, Gerald Koch, said that he had been subpoenaed as a witness and granted immunity, but that he was not a suspect in the bombing, which took place outside an armed forces recruitment center in the middle of the night and caused no injuries. Mr. Koch said in a written statement late last week that in 2009 he had been called before a previous grand jury investigating the case, but did not testify because he knew nothing about what happened.

“I will once again refuse to testify to the federal grand jury in ethical resistance to participation in a fruitless exercise of fear-mongering and government intimidation,” Mr. Koch wrote.
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Grand Jury Refusers Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran Are Free

The Stranger: Or they will be at 4 pm tomorrow afternoon. Judge Jones has granted Duran and Olejnik’s attorneys’ request to release their clients, who have been in prison—without convictions or charges—for five months and in solitary confinement for two months.

I wrote about visiting them in prison, and how they got there, in this story.

More details after I get Judge Jones’s ruling—but this is happy, happy news. And it’s a correction of a situation in the justice system that has seemed very, very far from just.

The third grand jury refuser, Maddie Pfeiffer, is still in prison, but his attorney did not join the motion to file for his release. That motion, I’m guessing, isn’t far away.

Of course, they might eventually be charged with criminal contempt—but at least that would have a semblance of due process, an opportunity for a public trial, and a fixed term of incarceration instead of you-just-sit-in-this-cold-cell-until-you-tell-us-what-we-want-to-hear.

You know, the stuff most American citizens expect when dealing with judicial branch of American government.

UPDATE

Judge Jones’s ruling is here, with selected paragraphs after the jump. In short, it reiterates what we’ve been saying for many months: That they weren’t there on May Day, that their confinement is looking awfully punitive even though it’s not legally supposed to be, that they have shown their resolve to not testify, and that the feds are asking them for testimony that would be tangential at best. (em>Who are these people and what are their political beliefs? instead of who threw a brick through a window?)

Read it in Judge Jones’s words below the jump:

Both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran have provided extensive declarations explaining that although they wish to end their confinement, they will never end their confinement by testifying. The court finds their declarations persuasive. They have been submitted to five months of confinement. For a substantial portion of that confinement, they have been held in the special housing unit of the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, during which they have had no other contact with detainees, very little contact even with prison staff, and exceedingly limited ability to communicate with the outside world…

The government does dispute the witnesses’ assertions that confinement in the special housing until entails 23 hours of solitary confinement in their cells and an hour of solitary time alone in a larger room each day, a single fifteen-minute phone call each month (as opposed to five hours of monthly phone time for detainees outside the special housing until), and exceedingly limited access to reading and writing material. Their physical health has deteriorated sharply and their mental health has also suffered from the effects of solitary confinement.

Their confinement has cost them; they have suffered the loss of jobs, income, and important personal relationships. They face the possibility of criminal convictions for contempt… both she and Mr. Duran have nonetheless refused to testify…

The court has observed both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran in their prior appearances before the court. Whatever the merits of their choices not to testify, their demeanor has never given the court reason to doubt their sincerity or the strength of their convictions.

The witnesses and the government also invite the court to consider arguments specific to the grand jury investigation at issue. The witnesses argue, for example, that any testimony they could offer would be, at best, tangential to the investigation… Although they remain in contempt of court, the court finds no basis for their continued confinement.

Letter from Maddy: Apologizes for Handwriting, No Contact with Lawyer in a Month

from CAPR:

February 1st, 2013

I am a few days past my one-month mark as I write this. I am still isolated in the Special Housing Unit here at FDC SeaTac and I have not heard any word on how long I will remain here.

I want to thank everyone who has sent me a letter thus far. Your letters and warm gestures of support from all over the world have helped remind me that I am not alone. Especially wonderful are all of the people who supported me before going in as well as those who showed up for court dates. Your advice and embraces have helped me in so many ways. Thanks to CAPR and Denver ABC for keeping my commissary full. I think of y’all every morning when I drink my instant coffee.

I am using my time to read, listen to the radio and exercise. I have been sticking to a routine, which has helped me stay grounded. I am trying my best to respond to all of the letters I have received, but am limited by stamps and supplies. I apologize if you have not received a response. Though I really should also apologize to those who have received letters from me; I am practicing to improve my handwriting.

I have particularly enjoyed receiving letters with pictures of nature/cute animals, news/goings on and jokes. I have found great strength in laughter while in here.

My main frustration thus far has been that, despite my many requests, I have still not been able to call my lawyer. It has been more than a month and I have not even seen so much as a response to my requests.

Regardless of that, I am generally in good spirits and I am looking forward to the day when I can thank everyone, in person, for their support.

Love & Rage,
Maddy Pfeiffer

Committee Against Political Repression suspends support for Leah-Lynn Platte

From Committee Against Political Repression:

The Committee Against Political Repression will be suspending support for Leah-Lynn Plante.

Leah was released from prison on October 17 after appearing before the grand jury investigating anarchists. We do not know what was said at that hearing. In the time since her release, Leah has not offered details regarding the subjects of the hearing, her response, or about her release. CAPR is withdrawing support for Leah until we get information regarding her grand jury hearing.

Meanwhile, Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejnik remain in prison, steadfast in their refusal to aid the government in its persecution of anarchists. CAPR will continue to do everything we can to support them, and we urge everyone who wants a more free, equal, humane society to do the same.

1) Write to them or send them books
Katherine Olejnik #42592-086
FDC SeaTac,
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198

Matthew Kyle Duran #42565-086
FDC SeaTac
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198

2) Donate funds for legal and material support

3) Have a solidarity action in your community

Northwest Grand Jury: Another comrade subpeonaed

According to https://www.facebook.com/ResistTheNwGrandJury, Matthew “Maddy” Pfeiffer of Olympia received a grand jury subpoena yesterday afternoon for November 7th. We haven’t been able to find any other information, but if any is made public, we will make that information available.

Solidarity from the mountains!

DABC

Statement Concerning Leah-Lynn Plante’s Release

From Free Leah, via Anarchist News:

First and foremost, do not panic.

Leah wanted for us to express these points to you with this news:

She is extremely traumatized and experienced a lot of very, very bad things, but she is alive. The state of her mental health is also very bad.
She asks that people do not jump to wild conclusions about her release because they do not apply.
She spent her whole time in SHU / Administrative Detention (solitary confinement) and was told that that is where she would stay for the duration of her incarceration, up to 18 months. She was classified as “different” from Matt and Kteeo.

She received probably near 200 pieces of mail, books, postcards in 4 days (mail was not delivered to her every day) and was glad for it, and knows probably a similar amount is being returned to sender right now. She urges people to step up support for Matt and Kteeo on all fronts. Books that didn’t get to her probably go into the prison library, which is still a good thing because from what we heard their selection is limited to romance novels and religious literature.
More information is going to be released. At this time, Leah needs space from media. She is overwhelmed by all the publicity. Regardless of who you are, if you have her personal information, PLEASE do not call her, email her, or try to locate her in order to question her. Give her space until she asks otherwise.
She was released the night of 10/17. She did not make it public immediately because she did not want the “media shitstorm” to jump down her throat yet.
She is very moved by the amount of support and solidarity there has been for her, she expressed concern that Matt and Kteeo were not getting as much publicity. Please write them, support them, send them books.

Again, to reiterate, more information is going to be released in a few days.

Thank you all for keeping an ear to the ground and for supporting these people.

(From: http://freeleah.tumblr.com/)