Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Political Prisoners, US
Update on anarchist prisoner Jeremy Hammond, who has recently been released from contempt for resisting a grand jury.
The Jeremy Hammond Support Committee is pleased to announce that Jeremy has been released from his contempt for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia as of yesterday, 12 March 2020.
In a statement once again reaffirming his commitment to stay strong and silent against the grand jury, Jeremy said,
“Because I see the United States government as fundamentally illegitimate and unjust, I reject the notion that I have any sort of ‘obligation to testify’ before a grand jury. The additional jail time I have endured – and may continue to endure – as a penalty for refusing to testify will never cause me to betray the ideas which have given my life meaning and purpose.”
In his order releasing Jeremy from his contempt, Judge Anthony Trenga stated that “the business of Grand Jury 19-3 had concluded,” and “[upon] consideration of the Court’s March 12, 2020 Order discharging Grand Jury 19-3, the Court finds that Mr. Hammond’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which his detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.” (Torrent and other formats available here.) Judge Trenga ordered Jeremy returned to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, where he will now finish serving the remainder of his sentence.
While this will not mean total freedom for Jeremy, and it is bittersweet in that had Jeremy not been called in front of a grand jury the government knew he would not testify in front of he would have been released to a halfway house three months ago, it is a major step towards his freedom, and we are thrilled that this nightmare is over and Jeremy can once again focus on finishing his sentence and returning to his friends and family.
We know that many of you want to know when Jeremy will ultimately be freed and, sadly, we do not have an answer for you. When he was pulled from FCI Memphis, he was removed from the Residential Drug Treatment Program that, had he been allowed to complete, would have secured his release to a halfway house on 12 December 2019. By not allowing him to complete the program, the “good time” he would have been credited with for completing the program was taken away. It is yet another injustice of this grand jury – the government knew that Jeremy would never be willing to cooperate with the state. His incarceration has only deepened his commitment to his anarchist ideals and his belief in total prison abolition. Despite this, they brought him to Virginia anyway, incarcerating him there for three months past his projected release date and adding a minimum of eight additional months to his sentence. Once he returns to the Bureau of Prisons, they will recalculate his release date.
And, finally, we want to send our solidarity to Chelsea Manning, who was also released. Chelsea had been called in front of the same grand jury as Jeremy and also chose to resist. It came at great personal cost, and we applaud her bravery and steadfastness. Her courage is nothing short of amazing, and we send our love to her and her support team for the moral fortitude they have shown over and over again in the face of overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, upon her release, Judge Trenga declined to cancel the outrageous legal fines Chelsea has been saddled with for her refusal to testify. A fundraiser has been set up to help her pay these fines – please share and donate as much as you can.
We deeply thank everyone who has supported Jeremy over these trying months. The fight is not over. Jeremy needs our support now more than ever as he enters the last months of his sentence and begins preparations for his ultimate release. We will keep everyone apprised of when and where Jeremy is moved to, and when his ultimate release date may be as more information becomes available. Again, thank you all for your solidarity.