Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Independentistas protest against Grand Jury subpoenas

Independentistas protest against Grand Jury subpoenas
Two Puerto Ricans would have to appear in case against The Macheteros
By Eugenio Hopgood / ehopgood@elnuevodia.com
July 28, 2008


Sympathizers from various indepednentista and socialist organizations protested last night in a vigil in front of the Federal Court in Hato Rey, against the subpoenas to appear before a federal Grand Jury.

They were issued to two Puerto Ricans in New York, as part of the federal investigation of the clandestine independence organization Boricua Popular Army- Macheteros.

Ramón Díaz, one of the spokespeople, said that the activity convened by the Table of Solidarity Against Repression took place on the eve of a judicial hearing that will take place today in Brooklyn, New York, concerning the subpoenas obligating the grand jury appearance of graphic artist Tania Frontera and social worker Christopher Torres.

Díaz explained that the subpoenas of Frontera and Torres had been postponed due to a pending motion to quash.

Attorneys for the subpoenaed independentistas sought in their motion for the prosecution to reveal whether the subpoenas are based on electronic surveillance, to question the legality of such surveillance. The U.S. Attorney said that it had to discuss this matter in a secret hearing, at which the public and the press would be excluded, said Díaz.

Today, the prosecution will try to convince the judge who hears the case that she should hold a sealed, secret hearing about what evidence warrants the subpoenas. Today at the hearing, the motion to quash the subpoenas could also be decided.

The motion to quash the subpoenas also alleges that the grand jury "has historically been used as a tool of the federal prosecution to persecute political activists and particularly Puerto Rican independentistas," said Díaz.

"The issue is that as early as tomorrow (today), Puerto Rico could have two new political prisoners, because these two Puerto Ricans have already said they are not going to collaborate with the Grand Jury,"maintained Díaz, a founding member of The New School, an independentista organization active in the western part of the island.

Among the organizations that form the Table of Solidarity Against Repression are the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), the National Hostos Independence Movement (MINH), the Socialist Front, the Human Rights Committee, the Nationalist Party, The New School, and Mothers Against the War, among others.

Díaz said that Julio Pabón, of New York, one of the Puerto Ricans originally subpoenaed, appeared before the grand jury, while Frontera and Torres have not.

Frontera, 35 years old, is the daughter of attorney Carlos Frontera, a legislative advisor of senator María de Lourdes Santiago. Torres is a Puerto Rican from New York. Both are represented by attorneys Susan Tipograph y Martin Stolar, of the National Lawyers Guild.

Elliott Monteverde has also been subpoenaed to this grand jury.

The subpoenas to appear before the Grand Jury provoked the Puerto Rican congressman from New York, José Serrano, to make a phone call to FBI chief Robert Mueller, during which Serrano stated that these cases appear to be the reinitiation of federal harassment of independentistas.

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