Sunday, November 11, 2007

Defend Catherine Wilkerson

Provided by Saja Raoof

The Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson was formed in April, 2007, to help Catherine Wilkerson, MD, fight back against political repression, police brutality, and apparent retaliatory misconduct by the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD), and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie.

Last year, the American Movement for Israel invited Ray Tanter, PhD, to speak at the UM. In his 1998 book, Rogue Regimes, Tanter admitted to being an unindicted co-conspirator in the illegal Iran-Contra arms deal. It was against this backdrop that an informal group of local peace and justice activists, including Dr. Wilkerson, decided to stage a nonviolent protest. On January 23, 2007, Dr. Wilkerson was charged by Mackie's office with two counts of attempting to assault/resist/obstruct "a person à performing his or her duties" in connection with a police disturbance at Tanter's talk last November on the University of Michigan campus. In fact, Dr. Wilkerson's only 'crimes' were to take responsibility for the well-being of a peaceful activist who was apparently rendered unconscious by UM police and to file a written complaint about the police brutality she suffered at the hands of AAPD Officer Kevin Warner.

Dr. Wilkerson's trial is coming up in the last week of November. For further information, see a video of the incident, and suggestions on how to help and/or donate, please visit www.defendwilkerson.org.


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11/10/2007 Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson Update

In this update:
1. Sign the online petition
2. Contact Prosecutor Mackie
3. Rally for justice and peace
4. Trial dates and times
5. New endorsers
6. Other things you can do to help

1. Sign the online petition
The Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson now has an online petition to University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie for you to sign. Read the petition and sign-on at: http://www.ipetitio ns.com/petition/ defendwilkerson The trial starts soon (see below), so please add your name and let others know about the petition as soon as possible.

2. Contact Prosecutor Mackie
If you haven't already done so, it's not too late to make a call or send a letter and an e-mail to Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie. You can find the contact information and a sample letter at: http://defendwilker son.org/sampltr. html You can also contact University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman

President Mary Sue Coleman
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
presoff@umich. edu

3. Rally for justice and peace
As we have done for the last two weeks, for the next two Fridays supporters of the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson will join the folks who rally in Ann Arbor every weekday rush hour to protest the war in Iraq. Defend Wilkerson signs and a banner will be provided.

When: Friday, November 16 & 23, 5PM - 6PM
Where: Corner of Fifth & Liberty, Ann Arbor (in front of the Federal Building)

4. Trial dates and times
Jury selection is 11/19/07 at 1:30 PM. Trial is currently scheduled for 11/26/07 at 1 PM and on 11/27, 11/28, & 11/30 at 8:30 AM . All events take place in the courtroom of 15th District Court Judge Elizabeth Pollard-Hines. The court is located at 101 E. Huron St. (corner of Main St.) in downtown Ann Arbor. For directions go here. The court phone number is (734) 222-3380. We'll try to keep you apprised of scheduling changes but if you're coming in from out-of-town then you may want to call first.

5. New endorsers
Thanks to the efforts of Paul L., the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson has two new Florida-based endorsing organizations: Bolivarian Youth and the Broward AntiWar Coalition. Welcome and thanks to our friends and allies in Florida for joining with our earlier endorsers: National Lawyers Guild, Detroit & Michigan Chapter; Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan Chapter; Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; Huron Valley Greens; Green Party of Michigan; Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice; and, the Gray Panthers of Huron Valley.

6. Other things you can do to help
I was recently asked by an activist in Los Angeles what he could do to help. Here's a revised version of the list I sent him:

a. Spread the word to friends and fellow justice and peace activists by e-mail
b. Phone or send a letter to the prosecutor urging him to drop the charges
c. Let friends and allies in southeast Michigan know about the case and the Committee and encourage them to get involved
d. Hold a fund raising event--Dr. Wilkerson could teleconference or maybe send a video--or make a donation to the Committee.
e. Get organizational endorsements of our work.
f. Write an article or do an interview on the case.
g. If you have connections to any high-profile political figures who might send a letter of support then please let us know.

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