Portland: Conditions for release of Sergey Turshanskiy set; ordered to not interact with anarchist organizations

Please note, to all reading this, but especially anyone affiliated with the U.S. Attorney’s office, or any court official: We are posting this story as a public news story. We are not currently in contact with Sergey nor has there been any attempt by Sergey to contact us following this order from Judge Stewart regarding Sergey’s release. We view the attempt to limit Sergey’s contact with his supporters and friends as yet another example of state repression specifically aimed at isolating and alienating those whom the state wishes to attack. If anything, this act by the court should send a strong and reverberating message that support, especially from groups acting to support non-cooperating witnesses in the Northwest Grand Jury, has been deemed a powerful weapon against the state and its program.

From Oregon Live:

Sergey Turzhanskiy, accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Portland police cruiser in early November, was held on $1 million when he was charged in state court.

Now that he’s accused of attempted arson and possession of a destructive device in federal court for the alleged crime, a federal judge ruled Wednesday he can be released with several conditions as he awaits trial.

The most unusual condition: Turzhanskiy must cease communication and contact with all anarchist groups. In particular, he must have no contact with members of a group that a federal prosecutor called the Resist the NW Grand Jury.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen F. Peifer said the group is made up of anarchists who are “frankly in the process of trying to obstruct” the federal inquiry into the May Day firebombing at the Seattle federal courthouse.

Peifer also told the court Wednesday that there were people who came to Turzhanskiy’s first federal court appearance in Portland last month who are involved in the investigation into the Seattle courthouse firebombing.

A post on the Resist the NW Grand Jury’s Facebook page Dec. 5 said, “Our friend Sergey has been in jail for a full month now (unrelated to the grand jury),” and asked if readers have written to him yet.

Further, Peifter said there were “Free Sergey” postings regarding Turzhanskiy on the websites or Facebook pages of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and Portland Anarchist Black Cross.

Peifer urged the court not to release Turzhanskiy, considering the danger of the offense and his ties to the anarchist groups.

“Our concern is the defendant is a flight risk because of his serious involvement with anarchist activity, which is a threat to the community,” Peifer said.

Police said he threw a flaming Pabst Blue Ribbon beer bottle, containing lighter fluid and a rag, at a marked police car in the North Precinct parking lot. It nicked the car hood and rolled off, was picked up and thrown again at the same car. No one was injured.

Defense attoreny Patrick J. Ehlers, of the federal public defender’s office, countered that Turzhanskiy does not have a significant criminal record with one prior conviction for contributing to the deliquency of a minor.

Ehlers said one of the websites that Peifer referred to was created simply to raise money for Turzhanskiy’s bail and attorney fees while in state custody, and has been taken down at Ehler’s request.

And, while Turzhanskiy has the freedom to associate with whom he wishes and enjoys the freedom of expression, Peifer said his client was willing to agree to have no contact with any anarchist groups as a condition of his release.

Turzhanskiy would continue to live with his girlfriend in Portland, Ehlers said. His girlfriend’s father, a doctor who works out of state, has agreed to pay Turzhanskiy $12 an hour to do transcriptions for his medical practice.

Ehlers argued that Turzhanskiy is not a danger to the community.  He stressed that no one was injured in the alleged arson, that the flaming bottle wasn’t thrown at a person.

“This is not something like an apartment complex or a residence, where someone was in immediate danger,” he argued.

Ehlers added that his client is committed to following the court orders. “He’s very engaged in his case and he wants to do everything appropriately,” Ehlers said in court.

U.S. District Judge Janice M. Stewart said the fact Turzhanskiy has a place to live and doesn’t have a significant criminal record makes him releasable, though she said she was concerned about his anarchist connections.

She ordered him not to have electronic or personal communication with any anarchist group, not even through a third party. That’s in addition to orders that he remain at his girlfriend’s house, surrender his passport, maintain a job and not use any drugs or alcohol.

“You’re going to be on a very tight leash,” Stewart warned Turzhanskiy. “If you violate any one of these conditions, you’ll find yourself back here.”

A trial date was set for March 5.

Update on Sergey

From Free Sergey:

Sergey appeared in court today, but in a holding room where the judge can only see them through a TV. Their physical condition, after being in the medical unit, seemed to be not serious, but exactly what their condition is and what they did to them is still not clear.

Some of the charges, including attempted arson, attempt to elude, and obstructing governmental administration, have all been disposed, leaving Sergey with possession of a destructive device (C felony), criminal mischief 2 (A misdemeanor), disorderly conduct 2 (B misdemeanor) and attempted arson 2 (A misdemeanor).

From their partner:

I finally got to talk to Sergey!! They want folks to know that they are holding up well, getting plenty to eat, doing lots of yoga, drawing lots of pictures, and making life-inspiring friends among other inmates. They ask that folks send any good books, zines, and drawings to them and thank everyone for their continued incredibly gracious support and were really cheered up by the show of support at the arraignment today. They also said that it’d be cool if people sent us (me/support blogs/etc.) cool drawings in solidarity to make an art blog out of.

You can write to Sergey at:

Sergey Turzhanskiy
MCIJ (Inverness Jail)
11540 NE Inverness Dr
Portland, OR 97220

Breaking: Portland police arrest suspect in incindiery attack on police cruiser

Update 11/6: Sergey’s bail has been raised to one million dollars.

Important Update! WePay set up for legal support at https://www.wepay.com/donations/free-sergey

And another update: New support blog at http://freesergey.blogspot.com/

From Portland Capitalist Media:

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Police have a suspect in custody they said threw a molotov cocktail at a police car early Monday morning as he rode past a precinct parking lot on a bicycle.

Sergey Yefimobich Turzhanskiy, 24, was arrested just after 1:30 a.m. after police said he threw a fire bomb at an unoccupied police cruiser parked in the North Precinct parking lot in the 400 block of NE Emerson Street.

Sgt. Andrew Edgecomb with Portland Police said several officers were coming into the precinct at the end of their shift when they heard a noise and a neighbor called out that someone was trying to firebomb one of the cars.

Turzhanskiy was apprehended a few blocks away by officers who chased him, Edgecomb said, and fire crews quickly put out the flames.

There was “minimal” damage to a police car, he said.

Police said Turzhanskiy is charged with attempted arson, possession of a destructive device, attempt to elude, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.

Arson investigators with Portland Fire and Rescue are also looking into the incident. Turzhanskiy is due in court on Tuesday, according to police.

Edgecomb said so far he has no idea what the motive was behind the incident.

Update on Pax: After Facing 72 Felonies, Pleads to Three Felonies

From Free PaxWe would like to say ‘thank you’ to all who have extended solidarity to Pax (Bryan Wiedeman) throughout this situation. We hope that similar solidarity will be displayed in other instances of repression–political repression as well as policing-as-usual that operates along class-based, racist and patriarchal lines.

Portland, Oregon — Bryan Michael Wiedeman accepted a plea deal on October 1st for three counts of criminal mischief in the first degree. Wiedeman was arrested on May 3 and was initially charged with 72 felonies — 36 counts of criminal mischief and 36 counts of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief. The non-cooperating plea deal Wiedeman accepted includes 5 years supervised probation, 20 days of weekend jail, 80 hours of community service, and $43084.59 restitution.

The discrepancy between the original charges and the anti-climactic outcome is evidence that the prosecution was politically motivated, says Kristian Williams, with the Committee Against Political Repression.

“The police don’t ordinarily kick down doors with guns drawn over simple vandalism,” says Williams, “and the attempt to inflate the case to felony conspiracy is pretty shameful. Clearly the whole affair was politically motivated.”

Northwest Grand Jury: Matt Duran imprisoned; Leah Plante released and re-subpoenaed

“Updates as of 4:40 PM” from Committee Against Political Repression:Around 3:00 PM today, Matt was taken to a contempt of court hearing. The judge decided to make the hearing private instead of public. It is our understanding that this action is unprecedented since the McCarthy Era of political witch hunts. The entire 2nd floor of the Federal Court House in Seattle where the grand jury itself was taking place was closed off to the public as well as the 13th floor where the contempt hearings were taking place. As of this writing, Leah has not been taken to her contempt hearing yet.

As of 4:00 PM, Matt is now in federal custody. He has another hearing scheduled on Wednesday, September 26th. We do not know where is being taken yet, but supporters are still at the court house to support him.

As of 4:30 PM, Leah was released and re-subpoenaed. She does not know the date of her next subpoena.

We are asking for supporters to call Judge Richard Jones in his chambers at 206-370-8870 and demand that Matt not be charged with contempt and be released.
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In Silence, We Roar!: Grand Jury Resistance in the Northwest

From Puget Sound Anarchists

The following is a leaflet meant to be distributed far and wide. The ideal format is a half-sheet with both a front and a back side. Solidarity with the silent! See the attachment in the link for the leaflet. Text as follows

In late July of this year, anarchists in Portland (Oregon), Seattle and Olympia (Washington) were subpoenaed to testify for a Grand Jury. Some people were served their subpoenas and will be appearing on September 13th, while others avoided being served meaning they are not legally bound to appear, and have chosen lay low for the duration of the grand jury. In conjunction with the wave of subpoenas, the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force raided three known anarchist houses in Portland.

While the reason for and testimony from grand juries are not public, the purpose of this Grand Jury seems to be an investigation of what occurred in downtown Seattle on May Day 2012. The media reports anywhere from 150,000-300,000 dollars worth of damage occurred on that day, so clearly the state is looking for anyone they can punish for these actions. But punishment is not the only reason for this witch-hunt, it is clear the State also wishes to use fear to silence anarchist struggles. The Police, FBI, and JTTF want to make sure another incident like this does not occur anywhere in the Northwest.

It has been one month since the mania has started, although it seems like it could have been last week or even yesterday. In these intense moments time tends to lose it’s meaning. But this experience has not made us weaker but stronger. The State’s intended goal of isolation has only brought more anarchist communities closer together. New friendships and affinities have already been formed and strengthened, and this is a process that will continue. Despite all the hard moments; the curiosity of who will be indicted, the thought of being led away from the court room in chains, the phone calls to parents explaining why they won’t be seeing their child for the next eighteen months, the friends who are and will be missed, we remain non-cooperating. We remain silent.

We respond to this witch-hunt with silence, but a silence far from the one the state desires. It is the silence of refusal, not the silence of compliance. We use this silence to protect the one’s we care about. We use this silence because some of us were there running amongst the people dressed in all black, listening to the symphony of shattered glass falling to the sidewalk and watching reinforced black flags break through windows of Niketown in an almost synchronized fashion. More importantly, we use this silence because these are some of the moments that actually make us feel alive, and a little more free, and without this silence those moments could not exist. They seek a silence that will make us fear their cages; we seek a silence that will stop them dead in their tracks.

This silence has already inspired action, both near and far. From banks and luxury cars being vandalized in France to banner drops in New York City, and all of the other solidarity actions, it’s apparent that many find this silence inspiring. Whether one is choosing to lay low or face the wrath of the court, with our silence of refusal we make their mission of spreading fear and isolation that much more difficult. In Silence, We Roar!

Handout available here

What You Can Do This Week to Support Grand Jury Resistance!

From the Committee Against Political Repression:

Thank you to all the individuals who have reached out to us and the organizations who have signed our solidarity statement. More than 160 organizations have signed on to the statement. This has been an important first step in supporting those facing political repression in the Pacific Northwest. We have a long and rough journey ahead of us, but we are inspired by the outpouring of support that we have already received. Many people have asked what else they can do to contribute to this struggle so we have come up with a short list of options. Those resisting the grand jury will be making a statement later this week.

Call In Day- Wednesday, August 1st. We are asking for people to call the US Attorney for Washington, Jenny A Durkan on Wednesday, August 1st to demand an end to political persecution and that the grand jury and investigation be stopped. When you call the U.S Attorney’s office, please let them know that you are speaking for yourself and not the individuals resisting the grand jury subpoenas. Be aware of how the things you say will impact the people you are trying to help. Feel free to use our example to help you figure out what to say. If you make a call, please email us (nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com) and let us know how what kind of response you got from the Attorney’s office.

An example of what you might say:

“Hi. I am Doug Brown. I am calling about the grand jury being impaneled in Seattle, Washington this Thursday, August 2nd. I am disgusted that the FBI and government are persecuting political dissent in our country. This group of people is being harassed and intimated for their political beliefs. I demand that the grand jury and investigation be ended immediately and that the governments repression of social movements stop. Thank you for taking my comments.”

Telephone: (206) 553-7970 or toll free at: (800) 797-6722
Fax Line : (206) 553-0882
ISDN: (206) 264-2765

Thursday, August 2. Come to Seattle to stand against the Grand Jury witch hunt! There will be a demonstration in solidarity with those affected by the raids and subpoenas starting at 7:30am and throughout the day. The demonstration will be at the federal court house, 700 Stewart St., in Seattle.

Can’t make it to Seattle? Plan another event or demonstration in solidarity! Please email us at nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com to tell us about your event.

Please donate! There is a “Donate” tab on our website (http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com) We are trying to raise legal fees for all of those affected. We also are trying to provide material support for those that are resisting the grand jury.

Please spread this information far and wide!

If you have questions, email us at nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com. We are still taking signatures from organizations so email us if your organization would like to sign on. Keep checking this website for updates in the coming days.