Dissent is Not a Crime: Two Subpoenaed Activists Speak Out

Sat, May 14, 2011
1:00 – 3:00 pm
St. John’s Lutheran Church
322 East Washington Ave
Madison, WI

Background: On September 24, the FBI raided the homes and offices of peace activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. They seized computers, phones, documents and other personal items. The FBI has also been contacting other activists in an ongoing investigation of alleged “material support of foreign terrorist organizations.” At this point 23 citizens have been issued subpoenas to testify before a Grand Jury in Chicago.

Refusal to testify can result in a grant of immunity followed by jail for contempt if the refusal continues. The federal prosecutor can also issue criminal indictments leading to trial.

Join us to hear the stories of two dynamic and courageous women, Meredith Aby and Sarah Smith, peace and social justice activists who have been subpoenaed to testify to a secret grand jury. Find out what happened to them and why. Hear why standing against FBI raids like those imposed on Meredith, Sarah, and other activists is important to every citizen of the United States. Learn how to protect our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association which are now at risk. Take the opportunity to support their legal struggle.

Meredith Aby has been an anti-war and international solidarity activist since 1994. She helped found the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee which has helped lead the peace movement there in challenging U.S. war and militarism in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Colombia, Palestine and Afghanistan. Aby has been on human rights delegations to Palestine and Colombia and in 2008 she helped lead protests at the Republican National Convention. In 2010 her home was raided by the FBI and she was subpoenaed to testify at a grand jury. She has refused to testify against herself and other members of the anti-war movement.

Sarah Smith studied Spanish at the University of Havana at the age of 15. In 2005, she traveled to Venezuela for the 16th World Youth Festival. At Grinnell College, she was active with their interfaith Palestinian solidarity group. Last summer she went to Israel and the West Bank with some friends. In December, all were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury about their delegation. They too have refused to testify.

Sponsored By: American Jews for a Just Peace–Madison, Madison Pledge of Resistance, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Rainbow Book Cooperative, The Progressive, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–Madison, and Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.