Our International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 was a smashing success thanks to all of you wonderful people! Thank you! This week helped us make tremendous progress on our goal of raising $30k for the NATO 3′s legal costs, but more help is needed. Please donate today!
In the days leading up to the Chicago NATO summit in May 2012, five anti-NATO activists were pre-emptively arrested after undercover informants infiltrated the Occupy movement. Co-defendants Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Church were charged with 11 felonies, some of which were brought under the Illinois state terrorism statute. Their attorneys challenged the terrorism statute as unconstitutional on its face and as applied to this case, but the judge denied their motion to dismiss the terrorism charges on March 27, 2013. Subsequent motions to dismiss some or all of the charges have also been denied. The NATO 3 trial is currently scheduled to begin on January 6, 2014.
In two separate cases, Sebastian Senakiewicz was charged with falsely making a terrorist threat and took a non-cooperating plea deal in November 2012. After several months, he was able to serve a four-month boot camp sentence and then was deported to his native Poland in August 2013. Mark Neiweem was charged with soliciting materials for an explosive device and probation violation. He took a non-cooperating plea deal in April 2013 and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. All the defendants except for Sabi remain incarcerated.
These cases are linked by a common thread–undercover Chicago police officers who targeted and entrapped the activists because of their politics. They are also part of a broader pattern of state repression against political activists, in which charging activists as terrorists is one of many strategies being used to silence dissent and dismantle activist communities. Other recent cases in which activists have been targeted include the Cleveland 4, the Green Scare cases, and the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters.
More information about the defendants and their cases can be found by navigating through the links at the top of the website. You can also donate to the support fund through the link at the top right of each page, as donations are urgently needed for legal and prisoner support needs. To keep up-to-date, sign up for our announcements listserv (see the sidebar at the right), find us on Facebook at Free the NATO 5!, and follow us on Twitter @FreeNATO5.