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(en) USA: Wellfare right activist arrested

from worker-a-infos-fr@lists.tao.ca
Date Thu, 17 Feb 2000 02:56:30 -0500


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PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY

[February 15, 2000]: Cheri Honkala was arrested on
November 29, 1999 in Seattle, Washington.  Cheri is
the Director of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union
and the National Spokesperson for the Poor People's
Economic Human Rights Campaign.  

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) is an
organization of poor and homeless women, men and
children who are fighting both to survive and to end
poverty. The KWRU was named as one of the five most
significant human rights efforts in the world by the
United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. This
year, the KWRU was awarded the Letelier-Moffet Human
Rights Award.  

The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
(PPEHRC) is made up of over 40 poor-led organizations
from around the country who are fighting for economic
human rights.  The Campaign recently completed a 400
mile "March of the Americas," from Washington DC to
the United Nations in New York City to protest poverty
in the richest country in the world.

Cheri has dedicated her life to building a massive
movement to end poverty, led by the poor.  Cheri has
signed on to the case called "the Poor People's
Economic Human Rights Campaign vs. the United States."
 This case, filed at the Inter-American Commission of
Organization of American States, attempts to hold the
United States accountable for
the economic human rights abuses being caused by
downsizing, poverty and welfare reform in the US
today.  

She has been organizing for over 15 years to insure
that poor and homeless families are not hidden in
America, and that the voices of the poor are heard.

WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY

Calling for human rights to be valued above corporate
rights, Cheri Honkala was arrested on November 29,
1999 in Seattle Washington.  Cheri was participating
in the protests of the World Trade Organization.  She
is charged with obstruction for her non-violent
attempt to speak out.  

All but a dozen of the over 500 cases related to the
WTO events have since been thrown out of court, yet
the District Attorney's Office is still pursuing
Cheri's case. Cheri was offered a plea bargain that
included 5 days in jail, $1000 fine, and a two-year
gag order prohibiting her participation or involvement
in demonstrations anywhere in the country.

Cheri has turned down this attempt to silence her and
deny her First Amendment rights. She is scheduled to
stand trial on March 14th, 2000 in Seattle.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

Right now, people throughout the country, including
musicians, labor leaders, students, religious leaders,
and lawyers are writing letters to the District
Attorney's office in Seattle asking that Cheri
Honkala's case be dropped. We ask that you do the
same. 

Cheri's case number is 371901. 

Please address your letter to City Attorney Mark
Sidran.  

Mail your letter to Municipal Building, 10th Floor,
600 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104, or fax to
(206)684-8284.

Also, please cc the KWRU Defense Committee at PO Box
50678, Philadelphia, PA 19132, (215)203-1950 FAX,
kwru@libertynet.org.  Thank you for your support.

CONTACT INFO:
Kensington Welfare Rights Union NUHHCE, ASFCME,
AFL-CIO PO Box 50678 Philadelphia, PA 19132-9720
Phone: 215/203-1945
Fax:   215/203-1950
email: kwru@libertynet.orgweb:   http://www.libertynet.org/kwru

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