SUPPORT WATER PROTECTOR STEVE MARTINEZ

Write Steve

Steve Antonio Martinez
#12728
PO Box 2499
Bismarck, ND 58502

Postcards and greeting cards are allowed, but no raised or attached materials and no glitter. When in doubt, plain ink on plain paper is always a good bet!

MARCH 3RD, 2021 -- Water Protector Steve Martinez has been taken back into federal custody in Bismarck, North Dakota today following an appearance before the federal Grand Jury. Martinez continues to stand in solidarity with his Indigenous relatives and Water Protectors by refusing to testify or cooperate with this secretive and unjust process.

On February 24th, after being jailed for 19 days for refusal to cooperate with the Grand Jury subpoena served to him, Martinez said:

I was served another subpoena before I was released, making it the third one. My lawyers are working hard to keep me from being imprisoned for standing up for my constitutional rights as an American citizen. After having my rights stripped from me, I was imprisoned with no charges for 19 days. Even with the work of our legal team, the chances are high that I will be imprisoned once again for up to 18 months or the duration of the grand jury. I humbly ask for your continued prayers & support as I continue to speak volumes through my silence. Thank you. MNI WICONI, WATER IS LIFE.

Supporters of Martinez stand in solidarity with his choice to invoke his constitutionally protected right to silence in the Grand Jury process. He was stripped of that right to remain silent by a federal Judge who imposed an order of immunity upon him. Grand Juries have historically been used as a tool of political repression against Indigenous people in their efforts to maintain sovereignty, push the United States government to honor treaties, and achieve self-determination for their relatives and nations.

Martinez was previously subpoenaed in 2016 to a Grand Jury allegedly seeking information regarding the injuries incurred by Sophia Wilansky in November 2016 at Standing Rock; a now infamous night where law enforcement used fire hoses on Water Protectors in freezing temperatures. Wilansky was gravely injured, nearly losing her arm, and unable to receive emergency medical transport due to the blockades implemented by law enforcement and the State of North Dakota. Martinez acted as a good Samaritan on that night, driving Wilanksy in his vehicle to receive emergency medical care. He was then summoned to appear before a grand jury and refused to cooperate.

Four years later, Martinez is once again being targeted by the government and detained for his principled refusal to participate in a secret process that has historically been highly susceptible to politically motivated abuses. "The secrecy of federal grand jury proceedings and the unfettered power and discretion that federal prosecutors have in the proceedings makes federal grand juries ripe for abuse against dissident political activists and their movements," said James Clark, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild. "Mr. Martinez's saga with federal grand juries seems to have already been characterized by a number of procedural abuses and irregularities, such has his incarceration last month by a magistrate judge who lacked legal authority to order it," Clark continued.

Chava Shapiro, a supporter of Martinez since 2016 said “We are all standing in solidarity with his choice to invoke his constitutionally protected right to silence in the Grand Jury process. Political activists know that Grand Juries have historically been used as a tool of political repression against Indigenous people in their efforts to maintain sovereignty, push the United States government to honor treaties, and achieve self-determination for their relatives and nations. The best and safest choice for Steve and for all those who protect the water is to maintain silence to this Grand Jury.”

Steve was taken into custody on March 3rd, 2021. We do not know at this moment where he will be held. Please check back for updates here and follow Steve on Instagram or Twitter.

MORE INFORMATION ON GRAND JURY RESISTANCE