An anarchist jailed since May on civil contempt for refusing to answer grand jury questions has asked a federal judge to free him, arguing that he has proved he will not cooperate.
Lawyers for Gerald Koch asked U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan in a motion filed Friday to release the 24-year-old college philosophy student from New York. Koch’s silence shows he has no intention of testifying in the future, the motion said. Koch’s lawyers said they believe the grand jury is investigating a 2008 bombing in Times Square, which targeted an armed forces recruiting center and caused no injuries. Koch is not a target of the investigation.
“Jerry’s spending Christmas in jail,” said one of his lawyers, Moira Meltzer-Cohen. “He just has no value” to the bombing investigation. … “Hopefully the judge will acknowledge that. I see no reason he would doubt it. It seems abundantly clear, but the judge has virtually unreviewable discretion.”
Koch can be held on civil contempt for 18 months. But confinement is supposed to coerce testimony, not serve as punishment. His supporters have pointed to a similar case in Seattle, where two activists were freed after five months when a judge determined that they would never speak to a grand jury that was believed to be investigating property damage during a May Day demonstration.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court upheld a civil contempt finding against Koch, ruling that the government “has made a convincing showing of its need to ask the questions at issue.” Meltzer-Cohen said Friday’s motion was the next step in lifting the contempt finding.
Koch has denied having “meaningful knowledge” of the crime. But he has refused to testify, claiming that grand juries such as the one in Manhattan are used to silence and surveil activist communities.
Many activists have rallied around Koch, with hundreds demonstrating outside the court during his contempt hearing.
reposted from huffpost
Youri Couture and Guillaume Constantineau, the last 2 Quebecers doing time for G20 related offences, were released yesterday on bail. Earlier in the fall they were both sentenced to 6 months in prison for a number of charges including mischief causing over $5000 damage, possession of arms and assaulting a police officer.
If you know french good, read more at le devoir.
As talked about in our previous post, the NATO 3 are scheduled to go to trial starting January 6th with jury selection. As you can imagine, this is a very stressful time for the defendants, as the state may or may not approach defendants with plea deal offers, and defendants gear up for trial with their lives on the line. They are also separated from family and loved ones during the holiday season, which is a very hard time for the incarcerated. Please mail cards (handmade or otherwise) to the NATO 3 defendants, and use the words ‘We’ve Got Your Back’ to let them know how much support they have out here as they near trial. This is an act of solidarity to keep defendants strong for trial, through our support. Here are their addresses:
PO Box 089002
Chicago IL 60608
PO Box 089002
Chicago IL 60608
PO Box 089002
Chicago IL 60608
Please get your cards in the mail and flood the jail with words of support for the NATO 3!
To donate to much needed legal defense funds:
For more info about the case: www.nato5support.wordpress.com
To contact us: email@example.com
The NATO 3, Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church, are three political prisoners still at Cook County Jail awaiting trial. They have been imprisoned since the 2012 NATO Summit protests took place in Chicago.
On December 2nd, the defense argued that the over-use of the word terrorism and the labeling of the NATO 3 as supposed terrorists would strongly influence the jury to view these political prisoners as dangerous criminals without any clear factual basis. The prosecutors have already repeatedly used the term to automatically and prejudicially criminalize the defendants both in court filings and in the press.
Additionally, this trial date featured a lengthy argument over the state’s continued reference to the defendant’s Anarchist politics and their alleged participation in the so-called, “Black Bloc Group.” Defense attorney Michael Deutsche implored judge Thaddeus Wilson to prevent the prosecution from putting the politics of the defendants on trial, to distract from the inadequacy of their case and the gross police brutality and surveillance that took place during the NATO Summit protests. The defense cited the multitude of Anarchist perspectives, calling into question the very idea that there is one essentialist definition of, “Anarchism,” that could be attached to the defendant’s beliefs or that this definition of Anarchism implied the use of violence as a tactic. In regards to references to the Black Bloc, Deutsche rejected the very idea that Black Bloc is anything but the practice of wearing black in a public demonstration and couldn’t possibly demonstrate any particular organizational affiliation. Attorney Molly Armour compared the prosecution of the 3 to the Red Scares of the 1920s and 50s, forcing the defense to argue the legitimacy of their beliefs rather than the factual reality of a (non) existent plot.
The next court date is December 19th at 2pm in courtroom 303 at the Chicago criminal court house. The trial itself is set to start on January 13th at the same location. As the trial looms, these political prisoners need our support as much as possible. They have weathered through a year and a half at cook county jail to get their day in court and put the state on trial for attempting to marginalize protests against militarism, police violence, and economic inequality. Whatever personal or financial supports you can provide through donations, letter writing, and attendance at court dates and the trial are all crucial to the struggle against the political repression of the NATO 3.
For a full summary of their last court date, see the article on @news.
To Donate and follow the case as it continues, please visit: http://nato5support.wordpress.com/
Fore more background info on the bombing, go here.
Roger Clement was released from prison in March after serving two years and three months of a three-and-a-half year sentence for firebombing the RBC branch in Ottawa in 2010, can again associate with anarchists after the parole board loosened his release conditions to protect his rights to free speech and association.
The Correctional Service of Canada wanted the parole board to ban him from associating with other self-described anarchists or marching in protests, but the parole board refused. However, the Nov. 26 parole board ruling bans him from associating with his accomplices in the firebombing.
Clement was denied parole in 2012 after he refused to reveal the identities of his masked accomplices in the attack that they filmed and posted online, immediately going viral across Canada and the world. Instead, he opted to take the fall alone, and his two suspected accomplices who were charged with arson were released because there wasn’t a reasonable prospect of conviction. In the video they stated that they firebombed the branch because of RBC’s connections to the Alberta oilsands and Vancouver Olympics.
These are excerpts from last week’s article by the Ottawa Citizen. Full article here.
“HELP BRING ME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” a life and death appeal from renowned people’s attorney Lynne Stewart.
“I need to ask once again for your assistance in forcing the Bureau of Prisons to grant my Compassionate Release. They have been stonewalling since August and my life expectancy, as per my cancer doctor, is down to 12 months. They know that I am fully qualified and that over 40,000 people have signed on to force them to do the right thing, which is to let me go home to my family and to receive advanced care in New York City.
“Yet they refuse to act. While this is entirely within the range of their politics and their cruelty to hold political prisoners until we have days to live before releasing us – witness Herman Wallace of Angola and Marilyn Buck – we are fighting not to permit this and call for a BIG push.”
Lynne Stewart, FMC Carswell
Take Action between now and the New Year. Telephone and send emails or other messages to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. and Attorney General Eric Holder.
CHARLES E. SAMUELS, Jr., Director Federal Bureau of Prisons
(202) 307-3250 or 3062; firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER, U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 353-1555; AskDOJ@usdoj.gov
Contact U.S. Embassies and Consulates in nations throughout the world
LET US CREATE A TIDAL WAVE OF EFFORT INTERNATIONALLY. Together, we can prevent the bureaucratic murder of Lynne Stewart.