Appleton, Wisconsin – On Saturday, September 23, students, faculty, and other members of the Fox Valley community gathered at Lawrence University’s Warch Cinema in defense of the Tampa 5. In their second stop on their national tour, Lauren Pineiro and Chrisley Carpio of the Tampa 5 spoke to the LU community. Opening with chants of ‘drop the charges now!’ and ‘fight back!’, the Tampa 5 representatives spoke in detail of their case and its repercussions to the group of 35 people. For some, it was their first time hearing of the infuriating case, where the five protesters are facing five to ten years in prison on false charges.
Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law, modeled on the federal statute designed to attack mob bosses, has been in the news a lot, ever since Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis used Georgia’s law to charge former President Donald Trump and his associates with attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. And with the news has come the inevitable hand-wringing about whether the RICO charges against Trump were a good idea. CNN (8/26/23) published an op-ed questioning whether the indictments were too broad, saying, “Casting a wide net can also raise serious First Amendment issues.”
In the early morning of March 19, 2022, agents from the federal Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, showed up at the apartment of Yuri Tkachev, editor-in-chief of the online publication Timer, based in the southern Black Sea port of Odessa. What happened next was reported on Timer’s website (1), quoting journalist and human rights activist Oksana Chelysheva (2), who said she had spoken with Tkachev’s wife: “According to [Oksana], when Yuri opened the door of the apartment, he did not show any resistance. Despite this, the SBU dragged him to the site, laying him face down. They also asked Oksana to leave the apartment. No violence was used against her. “Oksana claims that through the open front door she saw how one of the SBU officers entered the bathroom and stayed there for several minutes. … After this man left the bathroom, the SBU took Yury [sic] and Oksana back to the apartment, where the search began.”