Two Bay Area Activists Re-subpoenaed to Federal Grand Jury
Nadia Winstead and Ariana Huemer originally appeared before a federal
grand jury investigating Bay Area animal liberation and environmental
activists in January 2006. Both asserted their Fifth Amendment rights to
remain silent and later refused to testify when granted immunity.
Winstead and Huemer have both publicly stated that they do not intend to
cooperate with this grand jury process. In a statement to supporters and
the media, Winstead said: "I refuse to participate in these grand jury
proceedings. They represent a violation of my constitutional rights and
are nothing more than government sponsored harassment."
Federal grand juries targeting activists are often used as "fishing
expeditions." They are tools with which federal prosecutors and
investigators gather any information they can on activists, their
associations and their activities. Answering even the most
innocuous-sounding questions poses a grave threat to activists' ability to
speak out against injustice and oppression.
Those subpoenaed to testify before grand juries are denied legal counsel
during testimony. A witness who asserts the right to remain silent can
face indefinite imprisonment. People can be subpoenaed for virtually any
reason, and they can be interrogated in minute detail about their private
lives and beliefs. Even minor misstatements caused by faulty memory can
lead to perjury charges.
It is clear that the federal government's attacks against political activists
and our rights to free speech will only continue to escalate if they
remain unopposed. In the Bay Area the government continues to attack
black liberation activists and has jailed independent journalist Josh
Wolf. In Eugene, Oregon, grand jury resister Jeff Hogg was jailed on May
18, 2006, and remains in jail today.
It is imperative that we continue to strengthen the bridges between
grassroots political movements and actively show our support for grand
jury resisters while simultaneously working to dismantle the flawed
system that violates our most fundamental rights.
Your support through these times has been immensely appreciated. We
will be sending out information on how you can support Nadia and Ariana
as it becomes available.
For background information and updates, see http://www.FBIwitchhunt.com