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LEGAL UPDATE FROM JASON ROBBINS' SUPPORT COMMITTEE

THE STATE TURNS UP THE HEAT ON PRO-QUEER, PRO-CHOICE ACTIVISTS

As has been highly publicized both in mainstream and progressive media outlets, on December 4, Jason Robbins and two other activists were arrested in East Pikeland Township, PA following a peaceful demonstration in support of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) rights and reproductive freedom.

Since being released from police custody, Jason has seen East Pikeland Township officials begin to wage a campaign of intimidation and harassment against the witnesses in his case. The other two arrestees, originally charged with disorderly conduct and assessed a $50 fine, have seen these charges nullified, only to receive two additional notices in the mail recharging them with disorderly conduct, but setting the maximum penalty of a $300 fine. In addition, they are now also being charged with harassment. In total, these activists are facing upwards of $800 in fines, plus court costs and legal fees - all for participation in a peaceful and legal demonstration.

Further evidence of this campaign of intimidation and harassment arrived in the mail yesterday. Brian Leach, a participant in the demonstration and the person who police on the scene decided was the "leader," received charges of harassment - a summary offense - and also of making terroristic threats - a misdemeanor. For some reason, Jason's arresting officer thought waiting ten days to even ask for charges to be filed against Brian was a good idea, and then he took statements that have been contradicted by the same witnesses in court and used them to lodge these false and trumped up charges. Not only that, but the police affidavits against Brian and Jason - both by the same officer - contradict each other, and contradict the testimony given by that officer at Jason's preliminary hearing. At this point in time, the other three witnesses to Jason's case are attempting to find out if they also have pending charges. They are operating under the assumption that they will also eventually have charges handed down, but nothing is confirmed as of yet.

It is obvious to us that the State has decided to turn up the heat against pro-queer and pro-choice activists in Chester County. They are attempting to make an example not only out of Jason, but of all the activists associated with his case and the campaign against Repent America and other right-wing ideologues. East Pikeland Township and Chester County are attempting to criminalize dissent, a trend that has been happening across the country under the Bush administration. They are telling people that nothing but conservative, right-wing politics are acceptable discourse.

On a positive note, Jason is in discussion with new counsel for his case. This attorney has experience in the activist community and in cases that are politically motivated, like Jason's. He has also expressed interest in working as a team with the attorneys defending the other GLBT and pro-choice activists facing charges stemming from the same demonstration. In addition, if retained, Jason's new attorney is asking for half of what his original attorney wanted for the case.

We are hoping that with this new addition to the case and the reduced fee, people will be able to help Jason pay for his legal defense. Right now, Jason needs $3000 to secure new counsel and an investigator. For information on how to donate, please visit www.freejasonrobbins.com and click on "What You Can Do." Any help - in any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Also, Jason would love to hear from any and all supporters, so whether or not you can send a financial donation, please drop Jason a line and let him know that you support him and the work he is doing.

At a time when the police in Eastern Pennsylvania, along with law enforcement agencies all across the country are engaging in acts of political repression and harassment against anyone attempting to change the status quo in this country from anti-war and animal rights activists, to anti-fascists and environmentalists - we need your help more than ever. Even in the face of this overwhelming campaign of intimidation the activist community will not be intimidated and will never give up!

For more information and further updates, please contact The Jason Robbins Support Committee at  supportjason@gmail.com or visit www.freejasonrobbins.com.