SAN JOSE - Nearly two dozen activists protested outside San Jose federal court Tuesday to support Lindsay Parme, a Cabrillo College student jailed for refusing to testify before a New Jersey grand jury investigating animal rights activists.
Supporters passed out leaflets and urged people to call Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, where the 20-year-old African-American studies major has refused food since her incarceration began Thursday. The jail does not serve meals that comply with her strictly vegetarian, or "vegan," diet.
Vegans shun all animal-based foods, including meat, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and other dairy items. Most proponents of veganism, a movement started in the 1940s by a vegetarian society in England, also refuse to purchase leather shoes or any products made with animal byproducts or tested on animals.
It's unclear why the FBI arrested Parme, a Santa Cruz resident who was planning to transfer to the University of California, Santa Cruz, outside her Santa Cruz home last week. Grand jury investigations are secret, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey does not disclose the focus of any investigation or even confirm that any particular investigation exists.
According to supporters, FBI agents arrested and jailed Parme, who has been an animal-rights activist since the age of 14, because of her involvement in a Philadelphia-based animal rights group that opposes the research group Huntingdon Life Sciences. Activists say the group has conducted more than 500 grusome experiments on animals in laboratories in Europe and North America.
Nicholas Hensey, Parme's friend and supporter, said Parme will stay in the Milpitas facility until June 27, when she'll be taken to an Oklahoma transfer station for federal prisoners, then possibly to the grand jury in New Jersey.
"As a political activist who routinely engages in lawful and legitimate protests, Lindsay believes this is just an attempt to intimidate her and other activists," Hensey said Tuesday. "She's facing 18 months in jail for simply asserting her right to remain silent and for freedom of association."
Tue, Jun. 17, 2003
The Mercury News / Associated Press, http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/6110458.htm