[WASHINGTON, DC] Today, The Ridenhour Prizes announced that Edward Snowden and Laura Poitras will be jointly awarded the 2014 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling for exposing the US government’s vast warrantless surveillance operation. The revelations sparked a debate on the constitutionality of mass surveillance, and how technology has transformed the parameters of individual privacy.
In reflecting upon its decision, the awards committee said, “We have selected Edward Snowden and Laura Poitras for their work in exposing the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional bulk collection of the communications of millions of people living in the United States. Their act of courage was undertaken at great personal risk and has sparked a critical and transformative debate about mass surveillance in a country where privacy is considered a constitutional right. We particularly wanted to salute the role that Poitras has played in this story, as we feel that her contribution has not been adequately recognized by the American media.
[NEW YORK, NY] After two years of delays, trial will begin for Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan. Set for this Monday, April 7th at 9:30am at 100 Centre St Room 1116 Part 41, Cecily’s case marks the last ongoing Occupy trial. On March 17th, 2012 Cecily was sexually assaulted by a plainclothes NYPD officer and then beaten unconscious by police when she attempted to leave a gathering marking the 6 month anniversary of the inception of Occupy Wall Street. In the wake of this attack she endured, Cecily faces a charge of 2nd degree assault on a police officer.
Cecily McMillan | Illustration by Molly Crabapple
The heavy-hand of Cecily’s prosecuting attorney has led some activists to speculate that her political organizing within Occupy Wall Street plays a role in the prosecutor’s unwavering position. Others attribute the city’s stance to an unwillingness to admit guilt in the grotesque display of police misconduct on the night of Cecily’s arrest. Cecily’s firm commitment to nonviolence makes these charges even more absurd.
[NEW YORK, NY] Activists will gather for a second candlelight vigil on Monday, March 10 at 6PM outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan [150 Park Row and Pearl St]. These monthly vigils are organized by a critical new campaign titled No Separate Justice (NSJ). Monday’s vigil focuses on the unjust prosecution and imprisonment of Tarek Mehanna. Launched on January 7th, 2014 NSJ aims to expose and to work towards ending patterns of human rights and civil liberties abuses created by the Department of Justice under the auspices of the US’s “War on Terror.”
NSJ vigils are held on the first Monday night of every month outside the MCC., a federal penitentiary where people accused of terrorism-related offenses are held for years in solitary confinement, even before they have been tried.These inhumane conditions are not unique to the MCC. In an effort to shine a light on and end the pattern of human rights and civil liberties abuses happening in “War on Terror” cases, the No Separate Justice Campaign brings together community groups, academics, family members and human rights and civil liberties organizations including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-New York, and Educators for Civil Liberties.
[NEW YORK, NY] Trial began in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday for Occupy Wall Street activist, Cecily McMillan, who faces 2nd degree assault charges stemming from a 2012 encounter with the NYPD that left her beaten and unconscious. Trial has been postponed until March 3rd due to the introduction of illuminating new evidence. McMillan was brutally arrested on the evening of March 17, 2012 at an event marking the 6-month anniversary of the group’s occupation of Zuccotti Park. The series of events leading up McMillan’s beating was documented extensively by the press, and began with a plainclothes male NYPD officer forcibly grabbing her right breast. McMillan was 23 years old at the time.
McMillan, over the course of her arrest, sustained a violent beating resulting in bruised ribs, a seizure, and myriad cuts and bruises across her body. McMillan was hospitalized for these injuries.
McMillan was later charged with felony assault of a police officer, Assault 2nd degree, a Class D felony in NY, which carries that sentence of up to 7 years in prison. Prosecutors, upon approaching trial, have indicated that they will ask the judge for a maximum sentence of 7 years. Many activists speculate that McMillan’s work as a political organizer has played a role in the prosecutor’s unwavering position. Others attribute the city’s stance to an unwillingness to admit guilt in the grotesque display of police misconduct on the night of McMillan’s arrest.
[NEW YORK, NY] Activists will gather on Monday, February 10, at 6pm, for a vigil outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan [150 Park Row and Pearl St]. The event will be the first of a series of monthly vigils organized by a critical new campaign titled No Separate Justice (NSJ). Launched on January 7th, 2014 NSJ aims to expose and to work towards ending patterns of human rights and civil liberties abuses created by the Department of Justice under the auspices of the US’s “War on Terror.” NSJ vigils will be held on the first Monday night of every month outside the MCC.
“Abuses are happening nationwide, but the MCC is itself a site of abuse and torture,” said Vincent Warren, Executive Director of The Center for Constitutional Rights. “Prisoners in the MCC have been held for years in 22- to 24-hour solitary confinement and under gag orders euphemistically known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), even before they have been tried. According to the UN’s independent expert on torture, solitary confinement of more than 15 days can constitute torture. Despite its Manhattan location, conditions at the MCC are hidden from public view; requests for access by human rights monitors and the press have been repeatedly denied.”