SIERRA CLUB SUPPORTS JUDI BARI vs. FBI LAWSUIT ON EVE OF TRIAL,
CALLS FOR FULL SENATE INVESTIGATION
OPENING ARGUMENTS, FIRST WITNESSES POSSIBLE TODAY
NOON RALLY IN FRONT OF OAKLAND FEDERAL COURTHOUSE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. APRIL 8, 2002
CONTACT: Alicia Littletree, Darryl Cherney - 510/663-6330
Tracy Katelman 707/292-7442 (cell)
OAKLAND, CA - The long-awaited trial for the lawsuit by Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney against the FBI and the Oakland Police Department begins today with jury selection. It will be followed (possibly later today) by opening arguments and first witnesses. The trial will take place at the Oakland Federal Courthouse, 1301 Clay Street (at 12th), from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Thursday, until May 24th. A list of witnesses and other persons involved in the trial will be available.
At noon today, Earth First! will hold a support rally in front of the courthouse. Speakers and performers will include acclaimed author and international activist Starhawk, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee spokesperson Linda Sixfeathers, musician and activist Alice diMicele, and Judi Bari’s oldest daughter Lisa Bari, who was nine when her mother was the victim of the bomb blast in her car.
Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope urged national support for the lawsuit and solicited other national environmental leaders to join him in sending a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to continue hearings into FBI abuses. Citing “FBI handling of situations such as Ruby Ridge, Waco, Wen Ho Lee, and the Oklahoma City bombing,” he urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the Judi Bari/Darryl Cherney case. Pope stated in his letter to Sen. Leahy:
“No freedoms are more important to the people of the United States than the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This includes the right to carry out nonviolent protests against policies and practices, which citizens believe are wrong or destructive. The Redwood Summer Campaign which Judi and Darryl were organizing when the bombing occurred, was such a nonviolent protest.”
The historic lawsuit, more than a decade coming to trial, challenges the FBI’s handling of the 1990 car-bomb attack on the two prominent forest-protection advocates. Bari and Cherney were falsely arrested for carrying explosives but never charged. Instead of investigating the case, the FBI carried out a defamation campaign and violated the constitutional rights of the bombing victims. A legitimate investigation of the real bomber was never carried out and the case remains unsolved.
Bari and Cherney are suing the FBI and Oakland Police for violations of their First Amendment rights. FBI officials knew the victims were innocent yet blamed them of being guilty of bombing themselves. The FBI is also being charged with violations of the Fourth Amendment by conducting false arrest and illegal search and seizure. These charges have withstood the rigors of eleven years of challenges in federal court. In out-of-court settlement conferences prior to trial, Bari and Cherney have asked for: an investigation of the bombing, an investigation of the investigators, the Oakland Police to cease spying on peaceful political groups, an apology, and million. The defendants turned down all demands and made no counter offer.
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