Monthly Archives: February 2013

Two Grand Jury Resisters Released; Maddy Pfeiffer Moved From Solitary Confinement

Last night Matt Duran and Katherine “Kteeo” Olejnik were released from the Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center where they spent the last five months for refusing to testify before a Seattle grand jury investigating the anarchist movement . A third resister, Maddy Pfeiffer, remains in prison, but has been moved from solitary confinement to the general population.

Duran and Olejnik were greeted by friends and family as they left the detention center.  Their lawyers, Kim Gordon and Jenn Kaplan, had filed motions arguing that their confinement was punitive. Under the law, imprisonment for civil contempt is not supposed to punish witness but coerce them into testifying.

Duran and Olejnik had been sent to prison in September after refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the anarchist movement.  While ostensibly investigating vandalism that occurred during a May Day protest last year, the grand jury has been widely criticized for conducting a witch-hunt targeting people for their political ideas and affiliation. For the past five months, supporters across the country have been continually pressuring Judge Jones and District Attorney Jenny Durkan to release the grand jury resisters. Yesterday’s release was a victory for the resisters and all their supporters.

According to Judge Richard Jones’ decision:

“Both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran have provided extensive declarations explaining that although they wish to end their confinement, they will never end their confinement by testifying.  The court finds their declaration persuasive.  They have submitted to five months of confinement.  For a substantial portion of that confinement, they have been held in the special hosing unit of the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, during which they have had no contact with other detainees, very little contact even with prison staff, and exceedingly limited ability to communicate with the outside world.  . . .  [C]onfinement in the special housing unit entails 23 hours of solitary each day and an hour of solitary time alone in a larger room each day, a single fifteen minute phone call each month. . ., and exceedingly limited access to reading and writing material.  Their physical health has deteriorated sharply and their mental health has also suffered from the effects of solitary confinement.  Their confinement has cost them; they have suffered the loss of jobs, income, and important personal relationships. . . .  For these witnesses, however, their resolve appears to increase as their confinement continues.”

“We’re glad the courts have finally seen fit to stop torturing Matt and Kteeo in an effort to make them talk,” said Chris of the Committee Against Political Repression.  “But of course they should never have been there to begin with, and Maddy Pfeiffer remains in prison for their refusal to cooperate with this political witch-hunt.”

You can find the full court order here.

MATT AND KTEEO TO BE RELEASED TOMORROW, 2/28

As reported by Brendan Kiley (a good man and fine reporter), Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejnik are scheduled to be released from SeaTac FDC tomorrow afternoon.

This is really really really really excellent news! We recommend following the link and reading the entire article.

Don’t forget that Maddy Pfeiffer remains imprisoned. Please continue writing to them and supporting them!

Matt and Kteeo’s hearing changed to February 28th, 9am

Matt’s and Kteeo’s hearing at which their lawyers will argue for their release from SeaTac FDC has been moved up to February 28th at 9am. The location is still the federal courthouse at 700 Stewart Street in Seattle. This is obviously a move to weaken solidarity – let’s not let the state succeed! Don’t forget to bring ID, otherwise you won’t be able to get into the courthouse.

Grand Jury Refusers: Attorneys Ask the Court to Let Them Go

Here is another article from the Stranger in Seattle about Matt, Kteeo and Maddy’s situation at the SEATAC Federal detention Center.

missingpersons-headerWe are asking for people to pack the courthouse at Matt and Kteeo’s hearing. You can find more information about the event here. We are also asking for folx in other cities to have solidarity events on February 28th in support of Matt and Kteeo. Email us and let us know if you have an event in your community.

New Letter from Kteeo

Hey Everybody,

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! Thank you for your incredible support, your kindness, and your strength! Ya’ll are the best.

So, today is my six week anniversary of being in the SHU. Yesterday was my first day with a pen (or pencil, or quill, or marker, or…) in a little over a week. (What? What?) That’s write (like my pun?). I haven’t had access to a writing utensil in over two weeks…Let me explain.

ktoOk, so in general population, you can order pens on commissary (if you have the funds to do so), and there are pencils provided by the institution (they run out…often), BUT in the SHU have to use special writing utensils, provided by the institution and they run out…ALL THE FUCKING TIME (I think this time they were out of SHU pens for 3 or 4 weeks. Luckily I got one right before they ran out, and it held out for a bit). So as I sit here with a pen in my hand 🙂 I got to thinking about what I wanted to write to y’all about and I guess this is what’s on my mind…

So, in the SHU, you get one phone call a month (which I know I rambled on for a bit in my last public letter, but this will tie back to to the pen thing…I promise. 🙂 Well, it should be noted that some people’s phone privileges get taken away completely so that they get zero phone calls a month. Or, because they can no longer make the minimum amount of money that they made at their prison job before life in the SHU,(you can’t work in SHU) then those folks have zero access to phone calls too. Phone time costs!! Any way, what I’, trying to get at is in the SHU the phone is not a consistent form of communication, so letters become even more essential than ever. They are our lifelines to our families and our family’s lifeline back to us. They are how we handle our responsibilities, and how we stay connected. When we are not allowed our writing utensils, (whether it be an oversight, budgetary, or intentional form of punishment, the result is the same and the implications are pretty similar. It is either more important that people are hurt, without communication, or that communication doesn’t matter). Our communication with the outside world; with our families and communities, drops to basically ZERO, which hurts and which hurts our loved ones.

PRISONS AND PUNISHMENT WITHIN THE PRISON DOES NOT JUST EFFECT THOSE WHO ARE INCARCERATED.

I don’t know…I don’t mean to continue to harp on that point, but almost everything here (at least in my head it seems) goes back to that. It’s why (again, in my head) a simple thing as a pen running out of ink has such larger consequences…and speaking of those consequences that are associated with this issue, there are more. (I hope y’all don’t mind if I ramble on a bit more) 🙂

It limits our creativity, our self-expression, and our academic pursuits. If we always have to worry about; “When is my pen gonna run out?” “I need to save my ink to write letters.”, or simply; “Shit, my pen ran out…wonder when I will get another.” (All three are regular musings in my brain), then the time our pens spend creating; drawings, verses, and prose; it becomes limited. Even if the primary use of your pen is academic and/or creative, when that pen runs out, one can become lost.

This was just something that I wanted to share with y’all. I know that before this experience, even in general population, I had never thought of pens when considering prisoner’s rights, now the two will be forever linked.

SO, the SHU is meant to punish, and it does…it totally DOES, but honestly y’all, I feel stronger than ever. After being in the SHU for six weeks, (five by myself, with a bunkie for weeks 3-4.) I now feel like there is nothing in the world that I can’t accomplish or do now. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and I know that they will never, no matter how hard they try, be able to take that; my smile, no one can take that away from me, and that knowledge makes me strong.

The knowledge that there are women in my unit (at least back when I was there), but women, who smile everyday, who laugh everyday, and who resist everyday by not allowing this place, this institution, to have complete control over their emotions makes me strong. Y’all make me strong! Your support, your kind words, your passion, our funny drawings of animal friends—knowing you’re out there, makes me strong, and with every letter I read, I grow stronger.

The amazing work that people are doing in support roles makes me strong. What I am doing would not be possible without the hard work of those awesome folks (this includes my lawyer, she is the raddest). The love of my families, both the one I was born into, and the beautiful ones that my friends and I have created makes me strong. The fact that every single one of those people have not let a second of this experience go by without making me feel their incredible love, that makes me strong.

Well, before I close this, I want to say I do have a pen now, but that is not a constant state. The ink issue, along with postage is going to make letter response time even longer, plus its taking longer for my mail to get through; both in and out. Please know how much I appreciate you all, and that the long response time is not due to a lack of gratitude, I cherish every single one of your letters. I truly hope everyone is doing well.

Keep smiling, keep struggling,
In solidarity and gratitude,
With Love,

Kteeo

Pack the courtroom for Matt and Kteeo: February 28, Seattle

Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejnik’s attorneys have scheduled them hearings in federal court to argue that they should be released from SeaTac FDC. We are asking Matt and Kteeo’s supporters to pack the courtroom in solidarity. Please show up!

Thursday, February 28, 2013
700 Stewart St., Seattle, WA
13th Floor
9am

For more information – Grand Jury Refusers: Attorneys ask the court to let them go

Video about the May Day 5

Here is a video from Matt, one of the people indicted as part of the May Day 5 in Seattle, WA.