- Jenny A DurkanUnited States Attorney for Western Washington
Young activists raided, jailed for their political beliefs
Three young activists from Oregon and Washington - Leah-Lynne Plante, Katherine "KteeO" Olejnic, and Matt Duran - have been imprisoned not because they have been accused of any crime, but because of their political beliefs. Leah was placed in solitary confinement for seven days, and Kteeo and Matt have been in prison for nearly two months - all because they asserted their fifth amendment right to remain silent. Sign my petition today at http://www.change.org/petitions/young-activists-raided-jailed-for-their-political-beliefs, to call for the immediate release of Matt and K'teeO and to demand that all charges by dropped against the three young people.
On July 25, the homes of Leah-Lynne Plante, Katherine "KteeO" Oleinic, and Matt Duran were raided by federal agents. The agents knocked down their doors, handcuffed the three targets and their roommates, and searched their homes.
What were these three suspected of? Arms smuggling? Child Pornography? No. Actually, nothing. That's right, these three young people were not accused of any crime. These aggressive, invasive searches were the government's way of subpoenaing them to testify before a grand jury as possible witnesses to acts of vandalism that took place nearly 200 miles from their home.
Here are Leah's own words about the experience:
“On the morning of July 25th, 2012, my life was turned upside down in a matter of hours. FBI agents from around Washington and Oregon and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents from Washington busted down the front door of my house with a battering ram, handcuffed my house mates and me at gunpoint, and held us hostage in our backyard while they read us a search warrant and ransacked our home... As if they had taken pointers from Orwell’s 1984, they took books, artwork and other various literature as “evidence” as well as many other personal belongings...”
But the nightmare didn't end there. The three were each separately called before a grand jury and stripped of their right to remain silent. When they refused to testify, all three were thrown in prison for contempt of court. Leah and Matt were sent directly to solitary confinement, and Leah was told she would be kept there for eighteen months. Most prison experts consider solitary confinement of more then a few days to be torture. Matt was moved to the general prison after three weeks, and Leah was released after seven days, but K'teeO and Matt remain in prison since September. Sign here to ask for their release and for charges to be dropped against all three: http://www.change.org/petitions/young-activists-raided-jailed-for-their-political-beliefs.
Why were these three young people singled out and treated so harshly for possibly having evidence about broken windows in another state? The search warrant authorized agents to search their homes for “anarchist literature and books, flags, and flag-making material.”In other words, these young people were invaded, jailed, and threatened with torture because of their political beliefs.
I don't know Leah, K'teeO, and Matt, but I feel as if I do. I know a number of young idealist activists who are trying to make the world a better place, and these three remind me of my friends. You probably know people like them too.
If people who want change have their homes broken into by the police and are then jailed and sometimes tortured when they refuse to incriminate other activists, there is no hope for the rest of us. Don't let America become a totalitarian state. Please sign my petition to end these three people's suffering and to restore American freedom: http://www.change.org/petitions/young-activists-raided-jailed-for-their-political-beliefs.
- United States Attorney for Western Washington
Jenny A Durkan
Stop criminalizing witnesses: Release the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury Resisters and drop all contempt of court charges.
We, the undersigned, ask you to immediately release Catherine “K'teeO” Olejnic and Matthew Duran from federal prison and to drop all contempt of court charges against them and Leah-Lynne Plante. These three young people were targeted for investigation not because they are suspected of any crime, but for their political beliefs. After having their homes raided, their Fifth Amendment rights stripped away, and spending time in solitary confinement, these young people have suffered more than enough.
The whole world is watching. Stop criminalizing witnesses, and stop criminalizing political dissidents. Release all the Grand Jury Resisters and drop all charges today.
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