Sunday, November 30, 2008

Detroit Meeting on the Struggle to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dec. 3

Detroit Meeting on the Struggle to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
Location: 5922 Second Avenue at Antoinette, Near WSU Campus
Film & Discussion: MOVE Documentary and US Political
Prisoners Today
Sponsor: Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
(MECAWI)
Contact: Tel. 313.671.3715
E-mail: info@mecawi.org
URL: http://www.mecawi.org
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Response to Nov. 21 Final Call Article on Political Prisoners

The excellent summary below, written by Saeed Shabazz and just published in the Final Call, about the current repression and brutality against our political prisoners is a very accurate and chilling picture. But there is a more positive counterpart to this story, as evidenced in the event on political prisoners the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (FMAJC) and Resistance in Brooklyn held this past Friday night, November 21st, at St. Mary's Church in New York City.

The evening was one of education and solidarity with political prisoners, on the occasion of the publication of an important new book on political prisoners, Let Freedom Ring by Matt Meyer. Former political prisoners Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. of POCC, San Francisco 8 defendant Francisco (Cisco) Torres, Tarik Haskins, former BPP and BLA member incarcerated and tortured during a 17 year imprisonment, and Pam Africa of MOVE were among the speakers.

A one hour radio show the preceding night on this same subject was hosted by Suzanne Ross of the FMAJC, who was sitting in for Sally O'Brien on WBAI's Where We Live.

Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and son of the late martyred BPP leader and himself a former political prisoner, Ramona Africa, former political prisoner, incarcerated after she survived Philadelphia's horrific bombing of MOVE headquarters in which 11 MOVE members were killed; Ashanti Alston, former BPP and BLA member and subsequent political prisoner; JR of Block Radio and Minister of Information of POCC; fighting and convicted attorney, Lynne Stewart; Sundiata Sadiq, of FMAJC and formerly President of the now ousted Ossining Chapter of the NAACP; and Matt Meyer -- all engaged in lively dialogue about the importance of the struggle to free our comrades, heroes and sheroes in the US dungeons, and of the need for new focus and strategy in the political prisoner movement.

At the Friday night event, there were many new and young faces, from all ethnic communities but mostly from those of color, and a significant participation from the Political Prisoners Ministry of Iglesia San Romero de las Americas in Washington Heights, including their pastor, Claudia de la Cruz, who also spoke on the panel. Rebel Diaz were present with some of their people, and the Welfare Poets opened the program with their widely loved music of high energy and tribute to our struggles which had the crowd on their feet for at least 30 minutes!

There was a sense both nights that there are new initiatives and new energy, as well as creative approaches, that young people ARE interested in participating in this struggle to define our history and make the future struggle possible, which is what freeing our brothers and sisters is about, and that the struggle must continue ... and escalate.

Suzanne Ross, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)
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ALL OUT TO PHILADELPHIA FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ON DECEMBER 6TH,
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH MUMIA, AS LYNNE ABRAHAM, THE DEADLIEST DA IN THE US, IS FIGHTING FOR MUMIA'S EXECUTION, THAT IS, MURDER, AND IS REFUSING TO EVEN AGREE TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE! WE SAY NO TO EXECUTION, NO TO LIFE IN PRISON, FREE MUMIA AND ALL OUR POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!
For bus information and details on Dec 6th:
http://www.freemumianow.com
212 330-8029
215-476-8812
215-724-1618
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Repression against U.S. political prisoners ongoing

By Saeed Shabazz
Staff Writer
Updated Nov 21, 2008, 12:05 am

NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) - A week after the Jericho Amnesty Movement held October rallies and workshops here to commemorate their 10th anniversary as a coalition dedicated to freeing political dissidents in U.S. prisons, there were charges that repression continues.

“More activism and support is needed in the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal,” wrote lead defense attorney Robert R. Ryan, in an internet message to supporters of the former Black Panther and journalist. “There are new developments in the case that are the most significant and deadly since his 1981 arrest. The prosecution has advised the U.S. Supreme Court that they (will) seek reversal of the federal court decision, which granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty,” Mr. Ryan wrote. Mr. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a White police officer in 1981. Supporters said he was targeted because of his activism and was not given a fair trial.

“If the U.S. Supreme Court rules for the DA and overturns the federal court ruling, Mumia can be executed without having a new penalty phase jury trial, which would allow us to introduce new evidence which could free Mumia,” said Mr. Ryan.

The Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee sent out an alert informing supporters that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was planning to move the Native American freedom fighter to another facility. “There seems to be a strategy by the federal government to disrupt Leonard’s defense committee through these transfers,” according to Betty Ann Peltier-Solana, executive coordinator of the defense committee.

Ms. Solana said attorneys asked that Mr. Peltier be transferred to a facility closer to his home reservation, either a prison in Sandstone, Minn., or Oxford, Wis. He is currently held at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Penn. Mr. Peltier was convicted of murder in connection with a shootout between FBI agents and members of the American Indian Movement in 1975.

The governors of New York and California are refusing to allow Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim, members of the San Francisco 8, to be transferred from their San Francisco County jail cells to New York for parole hearings, supporters complain. “Judge Philip Moscone signed an order in May allowing both men to return to New York state for their parole hearings. All parties agreed at the time that the move would be temporary; Herman and Jalil waived their rights to fight extradition back to Calif.,” wrote Claude Marks of the California-based Committee for the Defense of Human Rights. According to Mr. Marks, both men have served over 35 years in prison and have been called model inmates.

The San Francisco 8 are awaiting trial on charges they were involved in the 1971 killing of a police officer. “The ‘SF8’ is another example of how the government seeks to crush self-determination and any challenges to the status quo,” Mr. Marks told The Final Call.

Harold Taylor, another SF8 member, was convicted on what supporters called “bogus” drug charges in Panama City, Fla. He will be sentenced Dec. 9. Supporters contend he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mr. Taylor was already out on bail in the SF8 case.

Karimah Al-Amin, attorney and wife of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as Black Panther leader H. Rap Brown, told The Final Call the only thing her husband is guilty of “is fighting for the rights of African Americans and fighting for the rights of Muslims.” Her husband spends 23 hours a day in a cell. He is allowed five social visits a month and two phone calls a week. Imam Al-Amin, who led an Islamic community in Atlanta, is serving life without parole plus 35 years at the Supermax facility in Florence, Colo., for the fatal shooting of one Atlanta deputy and wounding of a second deputy in March 2000.

The imam served five and a half years in administrative segregation in the state prison at Reidsville, Ga.

Mrs. Al-Amin said on Oct. 6, the Supreme Court agreed with the Georgia Circuit Court of Appeals that the prison administration at Reidsville violated the imam’s first amendment rights by opening his legal mail and denying visits from his attorney, who is also his wife.

“The state of Georgia must settle financially with my husband, but they are hiding behind the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which prevents inmates from getting a large settlement,” Mrs. Al-Amin said. “We consider Imam Jamil to be a prisoner of war,” she said.

“When I look at the names of those in Florence with my husband, you would have to say it is a place for political prisoners,” Mrs. Al-Amin added. Also incarcerated at the federal facility are Dr. Mutulu Shakur of the Black Liberation Army and the Republic of New Africa; Sekou Odinga of the Black Liberation Army; Dr. Malachi Z. York of the Nuwaubian Nation; Imam Malik Khaba (formerly Jeff Fort), founder of the Blackstone Rangers street gang in Chicago; Larry Hoover of Growth and Development, formerly the Gangster Disciple street gang in Chicago. “They refer to the prison as the ‘stateside Guantanamo,’” she said.

Lance Tapley, a journalist who has written extensively on prisons in the U.S., has made critical observations on the use of solitary confinement. “Supermax confinement is repulsive, immoral mass torture that is historically unprecedented. I would also suggest it is illegal under international law,” he told the National Lawyers Guild at its 70th anniversary convention last October.

Solitary disrupts “profoundly the sense of personality,” meeting the Senate standard for one mark of mental torture and the Senate recognizes mental torture to be a companion of physical suffering, Mr. Tapley said.

Over the years political prisoners in the U.S. have been represented by a battery of politically astute lawyers, including Chokwe Lumumba, Lynn Stewart, Roger Wareham, Adjoa Aiyetoro, Ashanti Chimurenga and Michael Tarif Warren.

“People don’t know about the issue of political prisoners and prisoners of war in the United States,” Mr. Warren told The Final Call. “People must be educated on how the system is violating their eighth amendment rights. Take for instance, we fought to have Bashir Hameed moved to a facility with a hospital that would help with his cancer, but they let him die,” Atty. Warren said.

Mr. Hameed was the New Jersey deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party and a member of the Black Liberation Army. He was convicted in the 1981 murder of a New York policeman and attempted murder of his partner. He was given a 25-year sentence after three trials and died Aug. 30.

“This is a mean spirited system that is only concerned with retribution, because they perceive that these people are a threat to the system,” Atty. Warren said.

Mr. Hameed was the fifth political prisoner to die behind bars in this era, advocates said.

“Imam Jamil talks all the time about the need to get the issue of political prisoners back on the front burner,” said Mrs. Al-Amin.

3 comments:

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Race Equality Secret Service said...

The Nuwaubians and the BNP (Black National Party)

The BNP (Black National Party) has been created to expedite the work of the Race Equality Secret Service (RESS).

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http://raceequalitysecretservice.blogspot.com/2010/02/bnp-black-national-party.html