NATO terrorism defendants kept in ‘observation’ cells (a.k.a sensory deprivation chambers)
By Chip Mitchell | WBEZ.org
A spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says three anti-NATO protesters accused of planning terrorist actions have been held around-the-clock since Saturday in white-walled “observation” cells, where they are isolated from each other and the rest of the inmate population and kept from writing materials, books and all other media.
“It’s for their own safety and the safety of the [jail] staff and other inmates,” the spokesman, Frank Bilecki, said Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously we’re concerned about their mental status and well-being.”
A medical staff member checks on the three every 15 minutes, Bilecki said. The cells each have one window through which natural light passes and a larger window for the observation, he added.
Gary Hickerson, acting executive director of the office’s Department of Corrections, ordered the observation because the defendants are young and because their charges are serious, Bilecki said. The decision had nothing to do with defendants’ behavior since arrest, he added.
The sheriff’s spokesman says the State’s Attorney’s office had no input into the protesters’ jail conditions.
But a lawyer for one of the alleged terrorists says the conditions amount to “sensory deprivation” intended to hamper their defense. “This is a way to break someone’s spirit and break their ability to cooperate with their attorneys,” said the lawyer, Michael Deutsch, who represents Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Deutsch complained about the conditions in a court hearing about the case Tuesday afternoon. Defense attorneys said they were “negotiating” with jail staff members to improve the conditions.
Read the full article at: wbez.org
Top Image: Source: (AP/Chicago Police Department)
From left: Brent Betterly, Jared Chase and Brian Church.
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