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Update on anti-war protesters arrested for confronting Senator Levin

August 20, 2010

You will recall from a previous posting that on Monday at a public meeting with local Democrats in Big Rapids, Michigan Senator Carl Levin was confronted by someone who read a statement about Levin’s support for war in Iraq, Afghanistan and the US support of Israel. After the statement was read a young woman through a piece of pie at the Senator to further protest his support for what she called “War Crimes.”

Initially, just the woman was arrested, but on Wednesday the young man (Max Kantar) who read the statement was also arrested. Both of the protesters are being charged with felonies and stalking. The state is arguing that since both of the protesters were arrested outside of Levin’s office in January, that this new protest constitutes stalking. Formally, they are both being charged with aggravated stalking and conspiracy to commit aggravated stalking.

The young man was released today on a $10,000 bond and has hired a lawyer. The young woman, Ahlam Mohsen, is being held on a $250,000 bond and is still in the Mecosta County jail at least until Tuesday when there is a hearing.

Today in Detroit there is a protest in support of Ahlam, calling for all charges to be dropped. Supporters of Ahlam are calling on people to contact Senator Levin’s office “to demand he contact the Big Rapids prosecutor’s office and demand that all charges against Ms. Mohsen be dropped immediately: (313) 226-6020 / (313) 226-6948 (Fax).”

In addition, supporters are asking for people to pressure the jail where she is being held and ask that Ahlam be provided vegan food, which as of right now she is not receiving. The 24-hour number for the jail is 231-592-0156.

This issue should concern anyone and everyone because of its clear use of state intimidation and repression against people who want to hold elected officials accountable. If the state can charge people who on more than one occasion confront a specific legislator, then that could silence or limit the kinds of resistance that people are willing to engage in.

We will continue to follow this story and provide updates on the cases and any actions that develop. It should also be noted that the Michigan ACLU was notified and will be involved in the cases.

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