Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Church of Florida — known as the NATO 3 — had a court hearing in Chicago on Tuesday, May 22. They have been held in isolation cells in Cook County Jail’s Cermak Hospital since their arrest one week ago, and are still being held in isolation without any contact with each other or anyone, without reading or writing material, with nothing but the blank walls of their holding cells.
At the hearing, the prosecution asked for a three week continuance of the process as they do not want to formalize the charges yet and are going to a grand jury seeking an indictment. This is likely a ploy by the prosecution’s desire to prolong the accused comrades’ suspension in a lack of knowledge about their legal situation, with this together with the threat of long prison sentences for terrorism charges (unprecedented in the State of Illinois) and the total isolation, the prosecution surely hopes the torture might get a confession or snitch among the three, who the prosecution don’t appear to have much evidence against.
The defense lawyers argued that the three should be released from the isolation cells. They also complained that the prosecution is deliberately trying to withhold evidence and charges, delaying the process. They say they expect the prosecutors to unseal a grand jury indictment at the next hearing date rather than go to a preliminary hearing, to avoid giving the defense a chance to cross-examine witnesses.
The judge granted a three-week continuance of the prosecution’s period before the formalization of charges and presentation of evidence (which is also a time when the defense can question the prosecution’s evidence and the case can get dismissed if the evidence is not sufficient). The argument of the defense that the isolation of the accused constitutes cruel and unusual punishment was dismissed.
The next hearing is set for June 12.
Strength and solidarity to Brent, Jared and Brian!
Against the terrorism of the State!
Against the isolation and torture of its prisons!
For us guilty or innocent does not matter,
we are on the side of all anarchist fighters against State power!
Long live anarchy!
War On Society