This weekend we received word that Mark Neiweem (aka Migs) of the NATO 5 has had 30 days good time restored and will be released from prison this week, instead of mid-January. While this is welcome and exciting news, it also means his support team has only a few days to prepare for his return home instead of several weeks.
Funds are urgently needed to buy clothing, shoes, hygiene products, food, and other basic necessities for Migs upon his release. Donations are being accepted here: https://www.wepay.com/donations/migs-prison-release-fund
Migs is one of the NATO 5, a group of Occupy activists arrested in the days leading up to the May 2012 NATO summit protests in Chicago as the result of undercover law enforcement infiltration. Migs was arrested in a spectacular snatch-and-grab as he was leaving a restaurant. He was charged with attempted possession and solicitation of an incendiary device and was facing up to 30 years in prison as well as a consecutive sentence for a probation violation charge. The state alleged that he attempted to get undercover Chicago police officer “Mo” to buy materials for him for constructing a PVC pipe bomb.
On April 11, 2013, Migs accepted a non-cooperating plea deal to the probation violation charge and to solicitation and attempted possession of an explosive or incendiary device. (You can read about his decision to accept the plea agreement here.) He was sentenced to a 3 years in a state prison and received credit for time served and other reductions in the duration of his incarceration for good behavior, ultimately reducing his sentence to 18 months with 11 months served.
Migs is no stranger to the Chicago cops, as he has been prominent in the Chicago-area anarchist community for some years now. In addition to being targeted for preemptive arrest, he was initially denied vital medical treatment after being arrested and, later was forced to choose between going to the hospital and talking with his attorney. During his time in Cook County Jail, he was singled out by the guards and beaten severely, requiring hospitalization. Early on in his incarceration, he was cornered in his cell by guards who took pictures of his anarchist tattoos and tried to force him to sign an admission of being part of the “black bloc anarchists” gang. He steadfastly refused to sign. Migs’ attorney complained about the ongoing harassment and targeting of him in open court, but the harassment continued.
Migs has continued to experience harassment and abuse because of his politics while at Pontiac Correctional Center, where he has served the remainder of his sentence. Prison officials wrote him up for disciplinary infractions for possessing literature with anarchist information and symbols. They subsequently revoked several months of his “good time” (time credited to his sentence for good behavior) and have held him in solitary confinement since July 13, 2013.
Activists, supporters, and other concerned community members joined together this summer to put pressure on the state to release Migs on time and not penalize him for reading and writing about a political ideology. The campaigns on his behalf, paired with legal appeals, have now resulted in Migs being released only one month later than originally expected. The final victory this past week means Migs will serve only 19 months total, instead of the full three years prison officials had threatened him with.
Migs has been steadfast in his convictions throughout this ordeal, and we have been steadfast in our support. Help us bring him home on wonderfully short notice: https://www.wepay.com/donations/migs-prison-release-fund
Bitcoins accepted here: 1Aq8pFMcNfZqBYQ2jNhnYgwoME3o3buRYi
Send a welcome home card to Migs:
PO Box 409220
Chicago IL 60640
Write to Yuri, an anarchist still being held in solitary at Pontiac:
Patrick Owens M36667
Pontiac Correctional Center
PO Box 99
Pontiac IL 61764
READ MORE ABOUT MIGS:
– Prisoner Sent to Solitary for Having “Copious Amounts of Anarchist Publications” (via Vice magazine)
– Open Communiqué by Mark Neiweem (via NATO5support)
– Prisoner Support: Every Moment A Crisis, Every Moment A Gift (via Suicide Girls blog)