August 12, 2006

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


Post a Comment

<< Home