Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
For Immediate Release: May 20, 2012
Contact: NLG Legal Worker Kris Hermes 510-681-6361 or NLG Attorney Sarah Gelsomino 773-520-8246
National Lawyers Guild Condemns Additional Sensational Terrorism-Related Charges, Exceptionally High Bonds
Three arrestees appear in bond court this morning, two of whom went without a hearing for up to 68 hours
Chicago, IL — Two more NATO protesters who are being represented by National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorneys went before a Cook County Bond Court Judge at Noon today on terrorism-related charges. Local Chicago activist Sebastian Senakiewicz was charged with a felony for falsely making a terrorist threat and was imposed a $750,000 D-Bond. Another local activist Mark Nieween was charged with felony solicitation and attempted possession of incendiary devices and was imposed a $500,000 D-Bond. A third arrestee Taylor Hall, an independent journalist from Pittsburgh, was charged with felony aggravated battery on a police officer and was imposed a $250,000 D-Bond.
“These additional charges related to terrorism are sensational, politically motivated, and meant to spread fear and intimidation among people protesting the NATO summit,” said NLG attorney Sarah Gelsomino with the People’s Law Office. “The city has still not produced any actual evidence of criminal activity or any weapons, though prosecutors have callously made several serious criminal allegations.”
Investigations by the NLG have uncovered infiltration by law enforcement in each of the 5 terrorism-related cases charged so far. The NLG believes that at least two undercover police or confidential informants, “Gloves” and “Mo,” were used in a law enforcement operation that resulted in 9 arrests from a Wednesday house raid in Bridgeport. Six arrestees from that raid have been released without any charges and three are facing charges of possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy, and were imposed $1.5 million D-Bonds. Indicating the political nature of their arrests, all five protesters with terrorism-related felony charges are being labeled as “anarchists.” Gloves and Mo were apparently arrested with the 9 protesters, but soon after released.
Senakiewicz and Nieween were held for far longer than their constitutional right to go before a judge within 48 hours. Senakiewicz was held for 68 hours before a hearing, without access to a phone or his attorney. The NLG was unable to visit Senakiewicz until the morning of his bond hearing. Nieween was held for 66 hours before a hearing, and was denied medical treatment in detention. Nieween was taken to the hospital at least three times during that period for vomiting and pain, but was not properly treated for his medical condition. According to the NLG, on several occasions Nieween was forced to choose between seeing his attorney and going to the hospital.
The NLG has reports of at least 38 arrests since the week of NATO protests began on Monday. Thirteen arrests were reported during a march on Saturday afternoon, ten of whom have been released — some with misdemeanor reckless conduct charges, and some without being charged at all. There have been several reports of police violence and hospitalization, including one protester in the Saturday march who was run over by a police van and hospitalized for three and a half hours, during which he was handcuffed to his bed and questioned by police. He was eventually released by the hospital and never charged. There have also been several reports of police amassing at known activist homes around the city, and of activists being questioned by the FBI, as well as being targeted and harassed on the streets.
The next hearing for Senakiewicz and Nieween is on Wednesday, May 23rd. The next hearing for Betterly, Chase, and Church, the three defendants brought to bond court yesterday is Tuesday, May 22nd. The next hearing for Hall is Friday, May 25th. The NLG is staffing a 24-hour hotline, as well as dispatching dozens of Legal Observers to record police misconduct and representing anyone arrested during the demonstrations, including the protesters with terrorism-related charges.
Photograph of “Mo,” a suspected informant involved in the terrorism-related cases:
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