“FBI we say no. Raids on activists have got to go!”
A group of demonstrators chanted at a rally at the Dirksen Federal Building in late June to protest the May 17 arrest of immigrant rights activist Carlos Montes.
Joe Iosbaker led the protest, criticizing the FBI’s involvement in the early morning raid on Montes’ home. Montes was charged with a “minor gun charge” and posted bail within hours, said Iosbaker.
“I did not volunteer for this position. The FBI volunteered us for this position,” Iosbaker said at the rally.
Iosbaker and his wife Stephanie Weiner have a particular interest in the bureau’s involvement as they had their home raided by the FBI in September of last year. No charges were filed against the couple.
“There is no judge. There is no jury. You don’t get to see the evidence,” Weiner said of the raid on her home.
The affidavit approving the warrant to search their home has been sealed by the grand jury conducting the investigation.
Iosbaker and Weiner are founding members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Weiner said she believes that they were targeted because of political activism their organization has been involved in regarding Palestinian human rights groups.
Iosbaker and Weiner are among 23 activists in three states whose homes were searched on Sept. 24. They were also served with subpoenas to appear before a grand jury investigation into the Arab American Action Network. That investigation is focused on the network’s Executive Director Hatam Abudayyeh, according to the Associated Press.
The warrant for Weiner and Iosbaker’s home included charges that the couple had provided “material support” to terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Colombia.
According to Weiner, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives have expressed their concern about the FBI’s handling of their case, including U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.
“We are seeing a deterioration of people’s civil rights,” Weiner said.
A spokeswoman for the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s office offered no comment on charges made by the activists against U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Regarding the grand jury investigation, the spokeswoman said her office does not comment on ongoing investigations.
- All Rallied Up and No One to Know (chicagotalks.org)