It’s been about six weeks since two anarchist activists were thrown in a Seattle jail to force their testimony in a grand jury hearing ostensibly convened as part of an investigation into vandalism at a May Day rally. Neither activist has been charged with any crime, nor are they suspects in the case. They are simply people who may or may not have knowledge that could potentially help the FBI with its investigation.

Since their testimony could tend to incriminate themselves, their fellow activists and the causes they stand for (that’s the whole point of the exercise, after all), the two activists have refused on principle to participate. Now they could be locked up for as long as 18 months without a single charge being filed against them, for doing nothing but refusing to help the government crack down on their movement.