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Anti-war, international solidarity activists tell Chicago Law School: “Don’t honor bullies like U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald"

By staff |
January 18, 2013
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Chicago, IL - Anti-war and international solidarity activists, who have been the target of a massive and continuing two year Department of Justice investigation into their First Amendment protected activities, are calling on John Marshall Law School not to honor former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald will be the commencement speaker at the law school's graduation Sunday, Jan. 20, and will receive an honorary degree.

The activists are organizing a national call-in day Jan.18, to John Marshall’s Dean, John Corkery, asking him to rescind the honorary degree.

The groups are also planning to protest outside the law school commencement on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 3:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago.

The call-in day and protest is sponsored by the Chicago Committee Against Political Repression, Coalition to Protect People’s Rights, Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. The effort is backed by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald had a record of bullying anti-war and Palestine activists, including:

Prosecuting Palestinians Abdelhaleem Ashqar and Muhammad Salah, using a confession forced under torture in an Israeli prison. After Ashqar and Salah were acquitted of the major "terrorism"-related charges, Ashqar was indicted and convicted for invoking his constitutional right not to testify to a grand jury--clearly a punitive response by Fitzgerald after his very public loss in the case; and

Prosecuting whistle blower CIA employee, John Kiriakou, the only person going to prison for the CIA’s torture scandals of the past decade. Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone – he’s going to prison for blowing the whistle on torture.

Holy Land Five: also in Fitzgerald’s office, Special Prosecutor Barry Jonas played the major role in the case of the Holy Land Five, in which leaders of a Palestinian Muslim charity were convicted of providing material aid to terrorism. They were sentenced to many decades in prison, based on alleged donations to the same Gaza-based charities that the U.S. government donated to, and based on the secret testimony of an agent of the Israeli state. Jonas has taken over the current investigation into the 23 anti-war activists.

Hatem Abudayyeh, a Palestinian community activist in Chicago whose home was raided by the FBI in 2010, is still waiting for his belongings to be returned by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Abudayyeh said, “The U.S. Attorney’s office has continued this witch hunt for over two years. It’s time to publicly exonerate us and admit that they found absolutely no ‘material support for terrorists,’ as they allege, but only constitutionally-protected opposition to U.S. foreign policy and support for oppressed people in Palestine, Colombia and beyond.”

Joe Iosbaker, another one of the Chicago activists whose home was subjected to a dawn raid by 25 FBI agents in 2010, said, “With the case of Aaron Swartz, the net activist who committed suicide last week under intimidation by Boston’s U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, there is growing awareness of this bullying by prosecutors.”

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is urges people to call John Marshall Law School Dean John Corkery at 312-987-2352 and tell him that Patrick Fitzgerald should not be honored in any way.