585 inmates at the Larissa penitentiary went on hunger strike on April 30 in protest of the detention conditions they face, asserting satisfaction of their demands. They had already stopped accepting common prison meals last week, demanding the food to be redistributed to people in need of it. As the prisoners themselves have announced with an open letter, their demands and allegations are the following:
– better health care
– no reference or mention of any statute-barred disciplinary offense.
– inadequacy of social workers
– legal detention of immigrant inmates for an excessive period of 2 months in Larissa penitentiary, despite their entitlement for conditional release.
Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, aka Bidder 70, was finally released from the halfway house he has been held in since leaving prison last October, having served his 2 year sentence for disrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases in 2008. He now faces a further 3 years post-release supervision which also bans him from any work of a "social justice" nature!
John is now back at Shotts prison recovering from an operation to have a disc removed from his back, after being laid up in bed for two weeks with severe back pain. He's still feeling quite weak and unsteady on his feet but hopefully he's now on the mend. His recent hospitalisation meant he had a pile of mail waiting for him when he returned on Saturday 20th April. He thanks people for their letters and says he will answer them in due course.
You can send your wishes for a quick recovery to:
Today, April 17, 2013, marks 41 years that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have been unjustly incarcerated in solitary confinement in Louisiana. This is 41 years of living in concrete and metal cages of 6 x 9 feet; 41 years of being separated from their families and loved ones; 41 years of being wrongly accused of a murder they did not commit.
A Defined Voice
By Herman Wallace, 2006
They removed my whisper from general population
To maximum security I gained a voice
They removed my voice from maximum security
To administrative segregation
My voice gave hope
They removed my voice from administrative segregation
To solitary confinement
My voice became vibration for unity
They removed my voice from solitary confinement
To the Supermax of Camp J
And now they wish to destroy me
The louder my voice the deeper they bury me
I SAID, THE LOUDER MY VOICE THE DEEPER THEY BURY ME!
Free all political prisoners, prisoners of war, prisoner of consciousness.
Following the recent release of Matthew Duran and Katherine Olejnik, the last of the three grand jury refusers, Maddie Pfeiffer, has also been released from prison. The exact details are yet unknown.
We got word late yesterday that Daniel McGowan was told he wouldn’t be issued a pass to go to work the next day. According to his keepers at the halfway house, this denial came at the direction of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). When he followed up, Daniel was told that it wasn’t merely a denial of a work pass, but a restriction on all movement. When asked if that meant federal marshals were coming to get him the next day, the halfway house administrators told him they didn’t know.
The state, and its for-profit halfway house minions, were clearly in collusion. This is just another way that opacity is used to mindfuck folks left to twist in the wind, not knowing what the future holds.
From our understanding, the reason for his re-imprisonment is directly related to an article Daniel recently wrote for the Huffington Post. An attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights has been to visit Daniel at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Once we know more, we’ll pas the information on.
For now, take time to send Daniel a card or letter. Let him know that regardless of how the state treats him, we have his back.
Write to Daniel at:
Daniel McGowan #63794-053, MDC Brooklyn, Post Office Box 329002, Brooklyn, New York 11232, USA.
UPDATE: Daniel has since been released from MDC Brooklyn and is back at his halfway house. [06/04/03]
On April 3rd, 2013 the judgment on the Revolutionary Struggle case was handed down.
Defendants who have denied participation in the organisation:
- Acquittal of Marie Beraha, Sarantos Nikitopoulos and Kostas Katsenos of all charges (on benefit of doubt);
- Conviction of Vaggelis Stathopoulos and Christoforos Kortesis for alleged participation in the organisation.
Admitted members of Revolutionary Struggle:
- Acquittal of Nikos Maziotis, Pola Roupa and Kostas Gournas of the accusation of "directing a terrorist organisation";
- Conviction of Nikos Maziotis, Pola Roupa and Kostas Gournas for "simple synergy" with the actions of Revolutionary Struggle (without a shred of evidence concerning their involvement in specific actions).
- Nikos Maziotis was sentenced to 86 years’ imprisonment in absentia; his sentence was merged into 50 years.
- Pola Roupa and Kostas Gournas were both sentenced to 87 years (Pola sentenced in absentia); each sentence was merged into 50 years and 6 months.
For all three of them, the maximum prison term is 25 years (which are typically served either as a full sentence or by day wages in prisons, or after the completion of 3/5 of the prison term, when a prisoner can be granted conditional release under specific conditions);
- Vaggelis Stathopoulos and Christoforos Kortesis were sentenced to 8 and 7 years’ imprisonment, respectively. The sentence against Vaggelis Stathopoulos was merged into 7 years and 6 months.
In addition, for all five convicted anarchists, the judges’ decision provided for deprivation of their political rights (5 years for the three admitted members of Revolutionary Struggle, and 3 years for the other two anarchists), as well as non-suspensive effect of appeal.
41-year-old anarchist Vaggelis Koutsibelas has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment (with the right to appeal) and a 300 euro fine - the prosecution initially requested a total of 27 years in prison - for a string of arson attacks that took place in the city of Trikala during March and April 2012. The main evidence against Vaggelis appears to have been a police informant, who admitted in court that the cops had forced him to sign a forged testimony because he had drug charges hanging over him, and whose evidence was refuted by the defence. Other evidence that Vaggelis was in fact elsewhere at the time of one of the arsons was ignored by the court.
On Monday, February 25, 2013, Prof. Judith Ritter of Widener Law School and Christina Swarns of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. filed an appeal in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania challenging the fairness of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas' surprise August 2012 Order resentencing Mumia Abu-Jamal to life imprisonment without parole.
That brief demonstrates that the trial court violated state and federal law by resentencing Mumia without providing him, his counsel or anyone else notice that a resentencing would occur; by failing to give Mumia or his counsel the opportunity to appear or present information or argument prior to sentencing; and by failing to make any effort to ensure that Mumia was informed of his appellate rights. Given these errors, the appeal requests a new sentencing hearing. Here are the next steps:
The Philadelphia County District Attorney's Office will file a brief responding to our appeal, we will file a reply to the DA's brief, there may be oral argument, and then the Superior Court will issue an opinion.
The Court has three options, it can:
(a) conclude that there was nothing wrong with what the trial court did and uphold Mumia's life without parole sentence;
(b) conclude that the trial court made mistakes but there was no harm to Mumia because the outcome - a life without parole sentence - would be the same even if the proper procedures had been followed; or
(c) vacate the trial court's order and send the case back to the Court of Common Pleas for a new sentencing hearing that complies with state and federal law.
It is hard to know how the court will rule, or how soon an opinion will be issued. We will certainly let everyone know as soon as a decision is announced.
A judge has granted Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran's attorneys' request to release their clients, who have been in prison - without convictions or charges - for five months and in solitary confinement for two months. However, they continue to face charges of criminal contempt. A third grand jury refuser, Maddie Pfeiffer, is still in prison, but his attorney did not join the motion to file for his release, [and has since been moved from solitary confinement into the general prison population].
Original article here and you can read Judge Jones's ruling here.
On February 26, District Court Judge Brady released a 34-page ruling that granted habeas to Albert on the issue of racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson for his 1998 retrial. This decision now overturns Albert’s conviction for a third time.
However, just as when Judge Brady overturned Albert’s conviction in 2008, the State is now expected to appeal today’s ruling to the 5th Circuit. Therefore, nothing is certain except that the legal team and Angola 3 supporters will not stop fighting until this ruling is affirmed by the 5th Circuit and Albert is finally a free man.
This is an important victory, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our supporters!
Full version of the Angola 3 Campaign statement here.
As of Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 Italian anarchists Alfredo Cospito and Sergio Maria Stefani, who are incarcerated in the AS2 wing of Alessandria prison, are conducting a hunger strike until communication and visits from their respective companions are granted. Alfredo has not been authorised to talk to or meet with his companion since his arrest on September 14th, 2012 because officially they were both being investigated in the same case.
Sergio however, was allowed meetings with his partner, but since she was also remanded as a result of the same investigation, they didn’t see each other until her release on December 21st. Since then Sergio had been granted three visits, until the investigation was transferred from the public prosecutor’s office of Perugia to the one in Milan, which banned visits from his companion.
Dutch No Border activist Joke Kaviaar has been sentenced to four months in prison for incitement (Article 131 of the Criminal Code). The Haarlem court rejected all of the defence pleas of her lawyer and sentenced Joke to four months in prison. Joke Kaviaar will appeal the conviction and announces that she will not let herself be silenced. She will continue to speak out against the Dutch migration policy.
The current verdict restricts the freedom of expression: from now on Joke Kaviaar and other publicists offering sharp criticism against government policy will get into danger to be restricted as well. This verdict creates dangerous jurisprudence for further restriction of criticism against the government.
Joke Kaviaar will appeal to a higher court, because she will keep defending her right to express herself by her texts, both as part of the struggle for free speech against state repression and as part of the refugee struggle. The sentence is a scandal, but will not break the ongoing struggle against borders and for freedom of movement.
Arrested at home on September 13, 2011, Joke was detained for three days under full restrictions. Meanwhile a house search took place. She was charged with “incitement and spreading incitement with a terrorist intent”. This charge involved a number of texts in which Joke fiercely speaks out against the Dutch migration policy. A few months later, in December, the Public Prosecutor’s National Office had her website taken offline. It was a day later put back online by unknowns and is still accessible.
After a long-term investigation two weeks ago, on January 8, a hearing before the bench chamber place finally took place. Four of her texts were submitted by the Public Prosecution to the court as being 'inciting'. The previous accusation that Joke Kaviaar had a “terrorist intent” with the alleged incitement was dropped. This raises the suspicion that the aggravated charge at the time of arrest, permitting the house search, and used throughout the entire investigation has only been added as intimidation, and to make use of the extensive investigative powers of the terrorism legislation.
For more information: Support Group 13 September (firstname.lastname@example.org) The quotes for which Joke Kaviaar is convicted, the relevant articles and more background information, are available at www.13-september.nl and http://13-september.nl/tag/english (english info)
John Bowden is a long-term prison resister, prolific prisoner writer, jailhouse lawyer and all-round thorn in the side of the prison service. He has been in prison now for 30 years, initially for a particularly senseless and brutal drunken murder,. However, he quickly became politicised by the brutality of prison life and is currently being held well over his finial tariff simply because of his politics.
In 2007 he was up for parole, having been in an open prison for 9 months and allowed regular unsupervised home visits. Yet the powers that be did not want to release him. Instead, they chose to commission a blatantly political probation report by an outside fundamentalist christian social worker once their in-house report proved too favourable to John. Instead they got what they wanted: an all too obviously politically biased report claiming that John had links with outside terrorist organisations - namely Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, his parole application refused and him back where they thought he deserved to be - in a maximum security prison yet again.
Now it is time for another parole hearing and he is back in open conditions and allowed home leave, ostensibly a threat to no one. However, this time the Scottish Prison Service has decided upon a new strategy - using a secret annex in the security section of their parole report, one that John has no access to and is therefore totally unable to challenge.
Read John's latest letter on the State's most recent machinations to keep him festering in their dungeons.
And please send letters/cards of support to John at:
John Bowden, 6729, HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.
The Tinsley Park 5, anti-fascists who attacked a neo-Nazi group meeting in Chicago in May last year, all pleaded guilty in court on Jan. 4th, against the advice of their lawyers, to three felony counts of armed violence each. Fearing that their pre-trial detention could drag on for years and the, if found guilty, they could have received a maximum sentence of seven years, they decided to go ahead and "just get it over with today" according to one of their attorneys.
Cody and Dylan Sutherlin both got five years. Jason Sutherlin six years, and John Tucker and Alex Stuck were both sentenced to 42 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections. All five have been in custody since May 19 and will receive credit for 233 days already served, will have to pay $587 in court costs, and will be on parole for two years upon release from prison.