Minnesota activists raided by FBI refuse to testify

Minneapolis activists are defying a grand jury subpoena.
Minneapolis activists are defying a grand jury subpoena.

The Minnesota activists who had their homes raided by the FBI 11 days ago are refusing to cooperate in a government investigation of their activities.

The six, along with others in Chicago and Michigan, have been subpoenaed to testify in a grand jury in Chicago, but say today that they won't take part.

Judging from the subpoenas, the grand jury is specifically interested in any contact the activists may have had with members of Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Jess Sundin, one of the Minneapolis activists subpoenaed, said any charges of material support of terrorist organizations are baseless. "Nobody has sent a dime or materials of any kind to these organizations," she said. "All we've done is to learn the stories of some of these people and to share them. If they're going to prosecute peace activists in the U.S. for sharing stories, then all Americans have something to worry about."

The U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago declined to comment on any aspect of the case.

Two of the Minneapolis-based activists had been scheduled to testify to the grand jury in Chicago today. Others have been called for dates later in the month. All have notified the U.S. Attorney's office that they won't be testifying, citing their fifth-amendment rights against self-incrimination. If the government grants them immunity, however, they will have no legal basis for refusing to testify.

Sundin said she won't take part in the grand jury, even if she is granted immunity. That could lead to charges of civil or criminal contempt, and possible jail-time.

The Minneapolis activists and their supporters are planning a rally outside the FBI building downtown at 4:30 this afternoon.

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