Update On Nov. 13 Barcelona Arrestees
Two of the five comrades arrested by Spanish Anti-terrorist Police in Barcelona on November 13 have been remanded in 'provisional custody' for supposedly plotting to bomb church property. Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar, previously amongst those arrested (and acquitted) during the so-called Chilean Anarchist 'Caso Bombas' (Bomb Case), have been charged with Illicit Terrorist Association, Placement of Explosive Artifacts (specifically at the Church of Zaragoza) and Conspiracy to Commit Terrorist Acts (alleged plans to attack the Monastery of Montserrat in Barcelona). The other 3 arrestees, Valeria Giamoni, Gerardo Damián Formoso and Rocío Yune, have been released on bail but have had their passports confiscated and must make regular court appearances. It is expected that our comrades Francisco and Monica will enter into the brutal regimen that are the F.I.E.S isolation units, where they will be dispersed throughout different and distant prisons across Spain.
Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced
Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old hacktivist, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). Read his final statement to the New York court here.
Alfredo Cospito & Nicola Gai Sentenced
At the first hearing on October 30 of their trial for the May 7, 2012, attack on Roberto Adinolfi, the CEO of Ansaldo Nuclear, for which they were charged with an attack with purposes of terrorism (article 280), Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai claimed responsibility for their actions but were prevented from making any form of statement to the court. Instead, they were bundled out of the dock. The prosecution went on to demand a 12-year prison sentence for Alfredo and 10 years for Nicola, as well as requesting 1 million euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage sustained by the government and the interior ministry. At the sentencing hearing on November 12, Alfredo was given ten years and 8 months in prison and Nicola 9 years and 4 months.
Important News About Writing To Prisoners
As part of the ongoing campaign of victimisation of prisoners being wages by the current right-wing attack dog Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, he introduced significant changes to the prison system's Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme in England and Wales. The IEP scheme is a (small) carrot and (big) stick system designed to ensure good behaviour amongst prisoners: the better behaved, the more 'privileges' one can earn - things such as the right to wear ones own clothes; to smoke; to earn higher prison pay rates and to get access to more personal cash; to rent a TV; to send more letters and make more phone calls; buy stuff from the prison canteen (shop); access to the gym and more time out of your cell. The list is endless. Break the rules and you can loose all these and more, including be forced to wear prison uniform.
So, hidden away in Prison Service Instruction (PSI 30/2013) which outlined the new revised Incentive and Earned Privileges scheme that official began on November 1, under the heading "Facilities List and items available at each IEP level", item 10.4 states: "To ensure that the IEP scheme is not undermined the general presumption will be that items for prisoners will not be handed in or sent in by their friends or families unless there are exceptional circumstances. Governors have discretion to determine what constitutes exceptional circumstances; this could include for example disability/health aids or an artefact [sic] for religious observance, stamped-addressed envelopes so as to facilitate a prisoner’s ability to communicate or where there is a need to replace clothing due to restricted access to laundry facilities. In determining whether other exceptions are justified Governors should consider the impact on their IEP scheme, the potential risk to security associated with smuggling contraband and whether they have sufficient resources to examine resources to examine and search the incoming property."
This now means that, unlike previously, one can no longer send in stamps, stamped & addressed envelopes or any other type of stationary. This also covers new clothing, which prisoners had been able to have handed in under certain circumstances. Now prisoners have to buy everything internally and pay for it from their personal accounts. Thus the increased restrictions on access to personal cash under the revised IEP scheme instructions means that contact between prisoners and their families and friends are going to be put under increasing strain. For more on the implications of the changes to IEP in English and Welsh prisons, check out the Campaign Against Prison Slavery website.
Update On Marco Camenish
Anarchist prisoner Marco Camenish’s request for transfer to a more ‘open’ prison has been rejected during his appeal. Marco is also very likely to have his appeal against the denial of release on bail rejected.
Here is a translation of a communiqué posted on Indymedia Switzerland:
On September 20 a group of people marched to the prison of Lenzburg. They gathered outside the east wing, where Marco Camenish is locked up. Two banners were unfolded on the fences of the prison: ‘Free Marco!’ and ‘Another world is necessary – By the side of Marco’. Armed with firecrackers and a loudspeaker people supporting Marco tried to reach him and the other prisoners. Police intervened.
Marco Camenish’ struggle against the nuclear power industry began at the end of the seventies. In 1981 he was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment, also for blowing up the pylon of a nuclear plant. Soon afterwards he escaped prison and lived 10 years on the run, during which time a border cop was shot dead. Marco was recaptured in 1991 following a shoot out with the carabinieri.
Marco has been locked up since then, first in Italy and since 2002 in Switzerland. This year Marco completed 2/3 of his sentence. His request for release on bail was rejected because Marco has never renounced his ideas and has always struggled for another world.
Free Marco, freedom for all!
Assault On Prisoners In Sofia Central Prison, October 17
Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian anti-fascist currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for defending 2 young Roma lads being brutally attacked by fascist thugs, was attacked along with a group of his fellow prisoners on October 17. here is a statement released by him:
On the Bulgarian Prisoners' Rehabilitation Association’s blog I have up until now not written much if anything about myself in an attempt to keep the Association’s blog neutral and equal for all issues and prisoners in Bulgaria and specifically Sofia Central Prison. However, I have done this at the expense of not reporting the prison’s attacks against myself for my unionism and solidarity with other prisoners, in an attempt to reform the corrupt prison administration, however on Thursday 17th of October an incident occurred involving myself that must be published.
At 8.30am a guard was counting prisoners for roll call, he quickly entered a cell and demanded that all 11 occupants exit the cell into the cold corridor, but before 10 of them could react he quickly left the cell and locked the door (the speed in which he left and locked the door made it evident that the guard was looking provocation). I Jock Palfreeman was not asleep but the guard did not see me as I had just exited the toilet and I was standing behind him in the guard’s blind spot, the guard swore at the 10 prisoners and said “now you’re going to see what will happen to you”. However when the guard locked the cell door, I immediately banged on the door as it was getting close to when I had to go to my university studies at 9am. One of the guards shouted “you’re too late for roll call”, I replied “I’m not too late I have been up since 7am, you just didn’t see me as I just left the toilet, I was standing behind you”, the guard from the previous shift told me that he would open the door for me, but the guards started arguing with each other, one wanted to open the door, the other wouldn’t let him. The guards left the block at about 8.45am. I sat down and waited to be let out to go to the study room, but at about 8.50am 50 guards rushed into the cell, took all of us out of the cell, 11 people, all of whom had not been in bed since the argument with the guard at 8.45am. The guards took all of us into the corridor and started viciously beating all of us. They used their boots, batons and also punches with their fists, they also took us by the hair and rammed our heads against the wall, myself included. They lined us up against the wall and about 50 guards started beating everyone from behind. We were 3 Iranians, 6 Iraqis, 1 Sudanese and myself – Jock Palfreeman – citizen of Sofia Central Prison. The guards were comprised of two shifts, from the days of the 16th and the 17th. There were 2 commanding officers and 2 sub-commanding officers and the rest were normal prisoner guards.
During the attack I was shouting “this is a crime” and other prisoners were shouting “Why?”, because they did not speak Bulgarian, all they could say was “Why?”. After the attack had finished, I started to explain to the commanding officer that I didn’t have anything to do with any problem, the guard making the roll call had simply not seen me and that after I explained the situation to him he had refused to re-open the cell door again and that I had the right to go to the study room at 9am. As I was explaining this, the same guard from the roll call, burst through the other guards, grabbed my shoulder from behind and started hitting me in the stomach and upper body. After this individual guard had finished beating me the commanding officer started threatening us, he said “I don’t care about the human rights organisations, I don’t care about your embassies, this is Bulgaria and we will beat you when we want”, I started to argue with him and he shouted “Shut up or I’ll cut off your beard and shave your head”, this threat perplexed me as it seemed out of context for the violent environment the guards had just put us through. I was shocked into silence as the threat was just so random and although very illegal, somewhat comical.
We were put back in the cell and the guards left. At 9.05am a group of us went to the bars that divide the block’s corridor from the stairs that leave to the block’s exit. Several prisoners wanted to go to the gym as it was their allocated time at 9am, others wanted to go to the Bulgarian language lessons also set at 9am, and I wanted to go to the study room for my own studies. But the same guard from the morning roll call refused to open the corridor gate and instead ran away. I believe that he thought that everyone was coming to him in a big group so as to seek revenge for his previous attack against 17th cell. The guard was an old guard but new in Sofia Central Prison and so as is typical in Bulgarian institutions, none of his superiors properly instructed him to the fact that at 9am many prisoners have to leave the block to go to their respective activities (which aren’t many so should not have been hard to have known). So the guard upon seeing people gathering around the gate ran and called the commanding officer thinking that a group was assembling for revenge for the guards’ earlier attack. We could hear him on the phone downstairs telling the commanding officer that a large group of prisoners are at the gates and that he needed help.
About 5 minutes later (which is amazing reaction time considering it can take over 30 minutes for medical help) 30 guards came running up the stairs and they assembled outside the gate of 10th group. They told all the prisoners to go into their cells, which all the prisoners did, including myself. The guards then tried to open the gate but they soon found out they couldn’t. I looked out of my cell and saw that there was a pad lock on the inside of the gate that the guards couldn’t reach. They tried by force to open the gate by barging it, but the padlock wouldn’t break. I then realized that this was my only opportunity to call for external help. I took my prison phone card and went to the phone in the corridor about 2 metres from the gate where the guards were and I called a lawyer, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and the Australian consulate. The guards started banging on the metal gate with metal rods, shouting and they also turned on the block’s siren to try and drown out my conversation with the consul and the lawyer. I told them one by one “please come ASAP, the guards beat us at 8.45 and they’re coming again to beat us”. After I made my phone calls I returned to my cell at 9.11, we know the exact time due to the recorded phone calls.
What is also interesting is at this time the prison told all the lawyers to leave from the lawyer consultation room at the other end of the prison then the prison administration shut down the lawyer consultation room. The prison administration tried all they could to try and stop their crime from leaving the premises of the prison and the confines of the prison administration. It is also completely illegal to expel lawyers from the prison premises, even more so during working hours. The right for a prisoner to meet with his/her lawyer is non-negotiable and this was another extreme violation of prisoners’ rights.
A prisoner from prisoner maintenance Budimir Kujovic came and cut the lock off the gate at about 9.15am and the guards ran into the empty corridor as if they were charging down for a rugby ball despite the total lack of aggression from the behalf of prisoners. They locked all the cell doors and entered 17th cell, my cell. They again started beating everyone with batons, punches, kicks and ramming heads against walls. After they stopped beating us I asked the sub-commander “why have you come back to this cell? Why are you angry with us specifically?” the sub-commander replied “you (collective ‘you’) have made us come back twice today”, I said “we didn’t make you come one time, people wanted to go to their work and the gym and that guard called you here”.
Despite the beatings I was completely calm as were the other 10 prisoners. They handcuffed us all and they said “ok now we will start the search for telephones”. 5 minutes into the search I was taken out of the block and put into a temporary holding cell on the other side of the prison. I asked the arresting officer “why have you restrained me in handcuffs?” he replied “we (the guards) have been sick of your group for over two months now”, meaning that the problem wasn’t with me individually but rather the guards were trying to make a collective punishment on the entire group.
A normal search of a cell would take about 45 minutes, however they searched the cell for about 3 hours and confiscated only an undocumented hotplate for cooking and furniture. No mobile phone was found and the guards went crazy that not a single mobile could be found, this is as they are all acutely aware of the problem of corruption within the prison administration and therefore presume that every prisoner has a mobile. The same guard who had provoked the two incidents then came to me in the temporary holding cell and tried to intimidate me to sign as a witness for the search in 17th cell that had been carried out without me, I flatly refused and explained that I would not be a witness for something that I didn’t in fact witness.
With nothing illegal found in the cell, the guards then tried threatening other prisoners to testify against me, but out of about 100 prisoners not a single one would lie, all of them stuck to the truth as they saw and heard it. I was kept in the temporary holding cell (which can be said to be less then comfortable) all day, but allowed visits from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a lawyer and the Honorary Consul of Australia. At 4.30pm I was returned without explanation to 10th group, but needless to say all my personal belongings had been thrown around, destroyed or confiscated. The prison administration wanted to put me in isolation, but could not find legal grounds to do this especially as my lawyer was present. So they took the administrative decision to move me from my old cell to a different cell, in a petty attempt to increase my discomfort, however for those of you who know me personally, you know I love camping!
An ‘investigation’ was carried out and concluded by the prison administration but has yet to be revealed, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee have conducted their own investigation as well as the Ombudsman’s office of Bulgaria. The matter has been referred to the regional prosecutors office, but experience tells us not to expect anything when it comes to the Bulgarian state investigating itself. The instigating guard was not moved from the block and on Monday the 21st of October he started threatening prisoners to not testify against him; however on the 25th of October he was moved to another place within the prison to separate him from his victims.
This is another case of unacceptable violence against the human rights of prisoners in Bulgaria, the commanding officers should be sanctioned, failing this the Association asks for the resignation of the Director Peter Krestev, so that law might prevail within Bulgarian prisons!
Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association
Sergio Maria Stefani Sentenced
Sergio Maria Stefani has been sentenced to 3 years and 3 months for alleged car theft. He was the only defendant during the so-called Operation Shadow trial to be found guilty. All the others were acquitted as the public prosecutor's case fell apart. Sergio has 90 days to challenge the decision and lodge appeal and still faces charges relating to Operation Ardire.
A Visit To Jock Palfreeman
Members of Brighton Anarchist Black Cross managed to pay a visit to Jock Palfreeman in Sofia Central Prison recently. In addition to the usual food stuffs that are always greatly needed by inmates in the Bulgarian prison system to supplement their poor institutional diet, the comrades took Jock a new pair of boots and some socks. Jock was in good spirits and sent his thanks to all who have been writing to him and sending him much needed reading material. Keep it up.
The comrades also visited one of Jock's fellow inmates, who was in solitary at the time of the visit. He filled them in about Jock's prison activism as part of his work with the Bulgarian Prisoners' Association. As well as teaching a number of the prisoners English, he has also taken it upon himself to act as prison 'listener', actively talking suicidal and depressed inmates out of potential self-harming incidents, and helping others in writing and presenting appeal materials.
Despite Jock's chances of freedom or transfer to an Australian prison remaining a distant dream, his activism remains his revenge (to quote Mark Barnsley) against the Bulgarian state that railroaded him. His 20-year spent in prison courtesy of the Bulgarian judicial system will not be wasted.
New Bristol ABC Zine 'On The Out'
A new publication has recently been produced by Bristol ABC. 'On the Out' is a collection of writings by ex-prisoners and their supporters on life after prison, which the group hopes will go some of the way to filling the gap in prisoner support literature for information on post-prison life.
The majority of prisoners in the UK only serve around 50-75% of their sentence in prison before being released. The remainder of their sentence will be spent on license. A limbo like state where you are neither in Prison nor free. The Prison system uses this as another tool of oppression, limiting people’s freedoms.
This pamphlet aims to tear down the walls surrounding licenses and probation for the world to see. In this zine we have collected several articles, interviews and discussions from former prisoners and their supporters about their experiences after prison.
Including pieces on social control through license conditions, tagging, the emotional affects of repression, how to support someone leaving prison and more. Click here to download: On The Out Zine
Political Prisoners In The U.S.: Systematically Neglected & Ignored
North American Anarchist Black Cross Medical Justice Committee statement on the state of health care of Political Prisoners in the U.S.
Denver, October 16, 2013 - On October 4, 2013, the world lost one of its greatest fighters in the struggle against oppression and injustice. Herman Wallace spent 41 years in solitary confinement after being targeted by the state for his work against racism and oppression from within the prison system. Amnesty International and mainstream news sources recently highlighted the release of Herman Wallace from prison. Tragically, Herman was able to breathe the air of freedom for only 3 days before he passed away. Herman was denied any kind of compassionate release by the state of Louisiana, despite his advanced liver cancer and the prognosis of a mere two months to live. Though it was the circumstances of his original conviction that compelled a judge to grant Herman his freedom, it was the state’s lack of concern for his medical condition that led to the resurgence of public and media interest in his case.
Herman was just one of many, ageing political prisoners (and prisoners of war) in the United States who are currently being denied adequate medical care and the compassionate release for which they qualify. These people are incarcerated for their opposition to actions or policies of the US government that are in violation of human rights, and as such should be afforded the protections of international law. It is the opinion of the North American Anarchist Black Cross Medical Justice Committee that these captured dissidents and combatants be granted compassionate release and dignified medical care, with respect to their age, health and sacrifice in service of legitimate struggles against oppression and exploitation. It was too little, too late for Herman; that must not be the fate of our other elder comrades.
Unfortunately, cases like Herman’s are far too common. Albert “Nuh” Washington, Bashir Hameed and Marilyn Buck are other recent victims of prison medical neglect. Some, such as Merle Africa, have died under suspicious medical circumstances. More will soon follow, if swift action is not taken.
Lynne Stewart is a 73 year old movement attorney convicted of materially aiding a terrorist organization for issuing two press releases on behalf of her client Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. Lynne was initially sentenced to 2 years in prison. But after publicly claiming that she could survive the 2 years, the government appealed her sentencing and she was punitively re-sentenced to an outrageous 10 years in prison. Diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer prior to her sentencing in 2009, Lynne was denied compassionate release because the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) claimed "she is not suffering from a condition which is terminal within 18 months," though treating physicians have estimated her life expectancy at 12 to 18 months. She is currently awaiting a decision from an independent committee within the BOP. From there it will go to the director of the BOP for the final recommendation and request for a motion to the Judge. Lynne’s health deteriorates daily. Her case is one example of many ongoing cases of medical neglect, including Abdul Majid, Robert Seth Hayes, Tom Manning, Jalil Muntaqim, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Chelsea Manning, and Leonard Peltier.
There are currently over 100 political prisoners in the United States. These women and men are listed and recognized as political prisoners by numerous human rights, legal defense and progressive/socialist organizations. They come from the Civil Rights/Black Power/New African Liberation struggles, the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, Indigenous Peoples survival struggles, Chicano/Mexicano Movements, anti-imperialist/anti-war movements, anti-racist/anti-fascist struggles, the Women’s Movement, social and economic justice struggles, and especially in the past several years, from the Environmental/Animal Rights movement. They are Black, white, Latino and Native American. Most of these political prisoners have been in captivity since the 1970s and 80s. Some were convicted on totally fabricated charges, others for nebulous political conspiracies or for acts of resistance. All received huge sentences for their political beliefs or actions in support of these beliefs.
Despite international recognition of political prisoners within the US, the US government continues to deny their existence. An article in the Harvard Black Letter Law Journal Vol. 18, states that “Despite their prevalence in United States society, U.S. Government officials have long denied the very existence of political prisoners. When Andrew Young, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, publicly acknowledged the existence of over100 political prisoners in his country, he was swiftly removed from office.” - The Reality of Political Prisoners in the United States: What September 11 Taught Us About Defending Them by J. Soffiyah Elijah
The harsh punitive conditions of confinement, often in special “control unit” type prisons, that political prisoners face daily, decade after decade, exposes and refutes this government myth.
The Geneva Conventions contain the internationally recognized standard of care for prisoners of war. The standard of care for Political Prisoners in the United States ought to be at least as sound as the Geneva Conventions. It currently is not. We have many ageing comrades struggling for the most basic health care while incarcerated. Even the Office of the Inspector General found that the existing BOP compassionate release program has been poorly managed and implemented inconsistently, likely resulting in eligible inmates not being considered for release and in terminally ill inmates dying before their requests were decided, as noted in the Department of Justice April 2013 review of the BOP compassionate release program . We cannot allow this to keep happening. What’s happened to Herman Wallace should never happen again. No one should die in prison. Least of all, perhaps, those who have spent their lives fighting oppression and injustice.
The Faces of Medical Neglect
The problem of medical neglect is a systematic one and affects many Political Prisoners / Prisoners of War. Following you will find some examples of folks who are suffering right now, as well as a list of people who have died because of medical neglect in prison or who were denied compassionate release before dying in prison:
•Abdul Majid: Black Liberation Army / Republic of New Afrika POW who recently suffered pressure on his sciatic nerve and was rendered unable to walk. After a week in this condition, he still had not been seen by a doctor, despite following the "sick call" procedure and all other necessary steps to get medical attention. After a call-in campaign, he was seen by a doctor but had not received the surgery he needed. It is presumed he is still unable to.
•Oso Blanco (Byron Shane Chubbuck): Indigenous POW, long-term chronic liver patient. Oso Blanco has been denied medical treatment for daily vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, irregular breathing, etc. He was unable to eat and had a large, hard mass in his liver, though Florence medical staff refused to do anything about it except look in his cell and pronounce him "fine." A call in / letter-writing campaign was necessary to get him a blood test, and he still did not receive a proper ultrasound (which was part of the call-in request). More answers from Oso are required before Dr. Lana Habash can properly interpret the results of his blood test. Oso also faced retribution from the call in campaign in the forms of mail being held and phone calls being cut short. As of right now he is still experiencing liver pain.
•Robert Seth Hayes: Black Liberation Army POW with Type II diabetes and Hep C. Seth has been fighting for adequate blood sugar monitoring since 2000. He had been consistently denied medical care for frequent, insulin-shock-induced blackouts in 2004 at Clinton Correctional facility. In 2009, when his sugar plunged to 32 and then up to 620 in a short amount of time, he had a seizure, for which he was taken off of honor block and thrown in keep-lock in Wende Correctional facility (supposedly a medical facility, though they denied him the diabetic diet necessary for his health). In August of 2012, at Sullivan Correctional Facility, he broke his index and middle fingers (injuries to the hands and feet, which can heal on their own, are very dangerous for diabetics). He was given x-rays and seen only by a physician’s assistant (not a doctor), and the diagnosis as to which fingers were broken kept changing. He has now lost the full range of motion in his hand.
•Tom Manning: United Freedom Front POW. In February of 2010, he needed a transfer to a medical prison to biopsy a lump in his groin, under his nipple and inside his shoulder blade. Recently, he was in need of knee replacement surgery. Also suffering from two tears in his shoulder tendons and advanced muscle atrophy, he was unable to lift a cup and unable to participate in the physical therapy necessary for walking (after eventually getting the knee replacement surgery). Nothing was done until a call in campaign was launched.
•Jalil Muntaqim: Black Liberation Army POW. Jalil had a stroke in January. The treating physician recommended he be transferred to an outside hospital, but the head physician refused. Four months later, he was given a CT scan, which reported brain damage consistent with a stroke. In June he was finally taken to Wende, where a neurologist examined him. After refusing Jalil's request for an MRI, the neurologist said that all the damage that will be done has been done, and that he should continue to exercise as he has been.
•Mutulu Shakur: Black Liberation Army / Republic of New Afrika POW, up for release in 2015. Mutulu has yet to be given physical therapy for the stroke he suffered in February.
•Chelsea Manning: "Whistleblower" who made available thousands of classified files pertaining to US war crimes / crimes against humanity. We do not know if her gender reassignment needs will be met by the military prison in which she is incarcerated, and how this will affect her physically and psychologically (she has already been subjected to torture while in the penal system).
•Leonard Peltier: American Indian Movement POW who had a prostate cancer scare (was exhibiting symptoms) in 2010. In June of that year, after being pressured by lawyers and the community, the BOP ordered blood tests. He received the results 4 months later. A biopsy was deemed necessary for proper diagnosis (and had not been performed as of April, 2011), and even if cancer is/was not present, a serious medical condition was nonetheless indicated by his symptoms. He has suffered a stroke which left him partially blind in one eye. For many years, he had a seriously debilitating jaw condition which left him unable to chew properly and caused consistent pain and headaches. The prison medical facilities could not properly treat this condition. In fact, two prison surgeries only worsened Leonard Peltier's condition. A physician from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, offered to repair Leonard Peltier's jaw free-of-charge, but was turned down again and again by prison authorities until the United Nations sharply rebuked the United States for subjecting Leonard Peltier to inhumane conditions. Surgery was performed and Leonard's condition improved somewhat. Subsequent surgeries are required, however, to fully address his condition. To date, such treatment has not been approved by prison officials. In recent years, Leonard Peltier has again begun to experience severe discomfort related to his jaw, teeth, and gums. Today, Leonard Peltier suffers from bone spurs in his feet and is affected by diabetes, high blood pressure, a heart condition, and other emerging health issues. According to an affiliate of Physicians for Human Rights, he risks blindness, kidney failure, and stroke given his inadequate diet, living conditions, and health care.
•Bashir Hameed, a Deputy Chairman in the Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO target, was charged and convicted of the murder and the attempted murder of two police officers in April 1981. This conviction came as a direct result of his political activity. Bashir Hameed and his co-defendant, Abdul Majid were tried three times (Queens Two) before the state was able to convict them. Bashir was serving a sentence of 25 years to life when, in 2008, he began to physically suffer. He was continuously denied any kind of medical attention or care. In May 2008, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation joined with comrades from Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Jericho Movement to coordinate call-in days during the month of June of 2008, demanding immediate medical attention. By early July, Hameed was receiving the requested care and testing thanks to consistent agitation from his family and supporters. Bashir Hameed died from complications of a triple bypass surgery at the New York prison system on August 30th 2008 because the prison administration refused to take him to an outside hospital.
•Kuwasi Balagoon, a member of the Black Liberation Army. Captured and convicted of various crimes against the State, he spent much of the 1970s in prison, escaping twice. After each escape, he went underground and resumed BLA activity. He was captured in December 1981, charged with participating in an armoured truck expropriation in West Nyack, New York, on October 21 of that year, an action in which two police officers and a money courier were killed. Convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, he died of pneumocystis carninii pneumonia, an AIDS-related illness, on December 13, 1986.
•Albert Nuh Washington, former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. Washington was imprisoned in 1971 as a result of the U.S. government`s war against the Black Liberation Movement and subsequently spent 29 years as a political prisoner (one of the New York Three). He died of cancer in the U.S. prison system on April 28, 2000.
Contact person: Agili Chuj
Telephone contact: 434-305-4531
Email contact: email@example.com
Albert Woodfox Bids Farewell To His Angola 3 Brother, Herman Wallace
Well, the old man has decided to leave us! I am sure it was a very hard choice for him: Who will I serve, the ancestors who have called me home or humanity whom I love so much?
Old man was my term of endearment; it had to do with the age of everything to do with his heart and soul. Herman “Hooks” Wallace was not a perfect human being and, like all men, he had faults and weaknesses, but he also had character! He could make me so mad that I wanted to rip his head off! Then he would melt my heart with a word or act of kindness to another human being.
On Oct. 1 sitting in a hospital room with the other part of my heart, Robert H. King, I tried to will a miracle, and it was granted – not the miracle of life that I wanted but the miracle of freedom! After 42 years of tireless struggle against evil, he was a free man!
I wanted so badly to witness his walk to freedom, but it was not to be. I had to leave. But after losing my mother, sister and brother in law to cancer, I was at peace!
I had a chance to say goodbye to my comrade in the struggle, my mentor in life, my fellow Panther and most of all, my friend. Herman taught me that a man can stumble, even fall, as long as he gets up. That it’s OK to be afraid, but hold on to your courage. To lose a battle is not the loss of a war!
Herman Wallace’s greatest pride was joining the Black Panther Party for Self Defense! He believed in duty, honor and dedication. He never broke the faith of the party, his comrades or the people. As I bent to kiss his forehead, my heart said, “Goodbye, I love you forever”; my soul said, “Separated but never apart, never touching, but always connected.”
He was the best of us. As long as we remember him, he lives on.
All Power to the People!
Albert “Shaka Cinque” Woodfox
#72148, David Wade Correctional Center, N1 A3, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040, USA.
See Us At The London Anarchist Bookfair 2013
Come see us on the joint Brighton Anarchist Black Cross & Bottled Wasp Pocket Diary stalls at the London Anarchist Bookfair this Saturday at Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS. As well as the usual cards to prisoners writing and stall items such as t-shirts, hoodies, pamphlets, etc., you can pick up your copy of the 2014 Bottled Wasp Pocket Diary for a special bookfair discount price of a fiver. Or why not pick up some Brighton ABC xmas cards for sending to your nearest and dearest. Better still, cheer up a prisoner or two this 'festive season' and buy some to send to our comrades in jail.
Public transport links:
Buses stop near the college on Mile End Road: 25, 205, 339.
Tube: the two nearest stations are Mile End (Central line / Hammersmith & City line or District line) or Stepney Green (Hammersmith & City line or District line).
Map of the venue & surrounding area.
Belarus Prisoners Update
Yauhen Vas’kovich spent 10 days in a punishment cell at the beginning of August. He regularly writes and calls his mother. The prisoner prefers not to have a lawyer, because he thinks it is pointless. The next date with relatives is planned on January. Mikalai Dziadok celebrated his 25th birthday in prison on August 23. He claims to have received many cards and letters, as well as some stationary and empty envelopes, which he values the most. Generally, his health state is OK, however, he has lost another tooth. In the beginning of September he spent 10 days in punishment cell for wearing a sports suit inside his cell.
Artsiom Prakapenka was deprived of a long-term date with parents, which had been planned for December. He could explain the reason on the phone. He feels fine and doesn't complain about the health. Before he worked in the night shift, now – in the first shift. He also wants to attend prison classes, but the prison administration didn’t let him do it by far. His monthly ‘expenses sum’ has grown from 10 to 20 euro. End of November he will have a short-term date with relatives.
Ihar Alinievich turned 30 on September, 24.
On September, 3 Aliaksandr Frantskevich was set free after 3 years of imprisonment. He claimed that his convictions haven’t changed during this time and he will continue taking part in the anarchist movement. Next 6 months he will have preventive police supervision – he can’t visit mass events, leave the place of living without permission and stay out from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. He will have to regularly check in with the police.
Nazi-Law In Germany 2013
In 1933 the German Nazis created a new law, called 'Preventive Detention' (P.D.), which allows the state to keep people inside prison after they have finished their sentence. The courts in Eastern Germany forbid this law, because it was a 'fascist-law'; the courts in the capitalist West-Germany never had such problems with Nazi-laws, so until today we still have P.D. in Germany – since 1993 in East and West Germany.
I am one of the victims of this Nazi-law, because 17 years ago the court convicted me, a left wing anarchist skin-head, to a long-term sentence, after a bank-robbery to 'fundraise' money for legal and illegal activities. The judges added P.D.
On the 7th of July 2013 I finished my sentence, they were keeping me in solitary confinement from 1996 until 2007, and now they are keeping me in the special-unit for P.D. detainees in Freiburg's prison, a town in the far south-west of Germany, near the French border.
We are 55 male inmates here in Freiburg's P.D. unit (total in Germany: 500 male and 3 female P.D. detainees); we are all long-term inmates. Some of us have lived behind bars for 40 years. The only reason why the state is keeping us in its gaols is that forensic experts believe that we are a threat to public safety.
In 2011 the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that living conditions in the P.D. units violates the Constitution and gave the government a deadline of the 31st May 2013 to change the conditions.
I have now spent more than two months in this P.D. unit, and I can say, it looks like a prison, it feels to me like I am staying in a prison, it is still a prison. There's no substantial difference to the regular prisons.
We have paid for what we have done, and we paid a high price – but to stay in prison, knowing that the sentence has finished, that causes psychological problems. The employees of the prison do their best to bully the inmates every day. Some of us have been living in P.D. units for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and more, without any realistic chance of getting released soon.
In my own case the forensic expert told the court that I had a 'narcissistic personality disorder', that I have refused any forced labour which has a negative effect on the 'prognosis', like the fact that I don't cooperate with the prison and the forensic expert too. He ignores all the social relationships I have and said: these relationships are not important, because I have stayed in prison.
First I should do long-term 'therapy', should cut down the contacts to anarchist comrades, and must cooperate with the administration. For me this is unacceptable – 100% unacceptable. Yes it is important to get free, but I think it is important how I get free too. Not to be outside, side by side with the comrades who are fighting every day, this is hard for me. But I'm sure it would be a bad sign if I started to lick the ass of the members of the administration. This has nothing to do with being a martyr, it has to do with human dignity and faith in political ideals.
I call the P.D. unit here a 'House of Death', because most of the detainees are old and ill men, there's no hope, the people are tired and feel like hostages of an old Nazi-law from 1933. That's the reality of the 'modern' Germany in 2013, the Republic of Mrs Merkel (the German Chancellor), better known as the new dictator of Europe, like the people in Greece believe.
c/o JVA (SV-Abt)
'Operation Ardire' Prisoners Released
'Operation Ardire' defendants Stefano Gabriele Fosco and Elisa di Bernardo, arrested June 13, 2012 during the so-called 'Operation Boldness' (‘'Ardire’') were released from prison today and placed under house arrest, subject to mandatory residence and the need to regularly register with the police. Sergio Maria Stefani remains the only Ardire prisoner still in custody.
Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike in CA prisons
Today marks the 60th day they have gone without food in protest of the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Their statement comes amid growing international condemnation of California’s practice of solitary confinement, as well as the commitment of California Senate and Assembly Chairs of Public Safety Loni Hancock and Tom Ammiano to convene a series of hearings in response to the strikers’ demands that would “address the issues that have been raised to a point where they can no longer be ignored.”
Legal representatives have reported that strikers were able to have an unprecedented meeting with fellow prisoners at Pelican Bay where they reached consensus on moving forward in their struggle to end torture in California prisons, and toward reducing violence among prisoners. Their advocates are encouraging communication between strikers at Pelican Bay and their fellow prisoners who were forcibly removed to New Folsom in the past weeks.
Members of the strikers’ legal, media, mediation teams, along with members of their family and activist support networks will also make statements at today's rally.
Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike
Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.
To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice. With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.
Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside. We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation--all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety. The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.
With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike. We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.
The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court--that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced—in in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.
We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.
We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.
After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison. But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.
In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable. (See: Agreement To End Hostilities)
Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met. We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.
In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!
From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals. However, there’s still much to be done. Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.
For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124
Aleksey 'Raskhod' Raskhodchikov Beaten & Arrested
Aleksey 'Raskhod' Raskhodchikov, anarchist, antifascist and musician was beaten and arrested by police during the night of July 23, 2013 in the centre of Murmansk city. On the main square policemen surrounded a group of punk-rockers and without any reason asked for IDs. Raskhod tried to ask for documents of police officers, but he was beaten and arrested.
The police violence continued in the police station. As a result anarchist was taken to the hospital by ambulance, there he contacted with Regional Youth Human Right Board and Public monitoring committee (PMC) of compliance of human rights in places of detention and asked for help.
Than human rights defenders arrived to the police station. They observed badly injured Raskhodchikov with bandaged head and police officer with stains of blood all over his uniform. The floor and walls in the police foyer were also stained with blood.
After it Raskhodchikov was set free, human rights defenders went to the Department's own security AMIA Russia's Murmansk region, were they officially reported about crime of policemen against anarchist, accentuated attention on the fact that the police station has video-cameras, which should been spotted the cruel treatment.
Nobody informed watchers about any injuries of policemen. The version about policeman getting injuries was published later.
“When brought to a police station one of them had an active resistance, attacked the police with a knife. As a result, the police officer was wounded in the form of multiple scalped wounds of both hands - the press-service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Murmansk region - Upon demonstrate how violence against a police officer is being conducted. Materials sent to the investigating authorities to decide whether a criminal case.”
Young people told that after arrest they have been kneeled down in opposite corners and been beaten up by officers.
[source & further information ]
Support Irina Lipskaya
Moscow anarchist and anti-fascist Irina Lipskaya was arrested in July last year for her alleged part in the so-called 'Barrikada case', were a Nazi gig in a Moscow club was attacked. She has been in prison for over a year and has now had her case put back to October 2. Moscow ABC are asking for comrades to send cards of support (see the advice on the Prisoners page) to her.
Barcelona Five Update #2
Thirty-five days after being arrested by the Catalan police, on orders from Madrid, five young anarchists are still imprisoned and in isolation in the prisons of Soto del Real, Alcala Meco, Estremera and Aranjuez. The support group in Barcelona has opened a website explaining their current situation and how to show them support. (see below). The demonstration in Barcelona started at the main square and attracted over 200 people. The banners were at the head said “Freedom is the crime being punished” and “Yolanda, Silvia, Juan, Jose and Xavier. Liberty.” The police didn’t interfere for once and we marched down the Ramblas of Barcelona, past 1000′s of tourists, while shouting slogans against state repression and in defence of freedom of expression.
The five people jailed by Judge Santiago Pedraz are accused of being part of a Facebook group (called Black Flag / Bandera Negra) which shared provocative photos, collages and political messages, attacking and laughing at politicians, monarchs and businessmen. They were also accused of participating in demonstrations where there were some violent incidents, such as the general strike of November 14, but curiously without being connected with any particular incident.
All but one of their Facebook accounts seem to have been deleted. (The one you can still see on Facebook is called ‘Eskupe Metralla’, in the police report). In fact, Facebook deletes hundreds of accounts every day, mainly for porn or advertising, but also for political publicising. When a particular photo or illustration is censored the whole chain of those sharing it also disappears.
If the Madrid Court is really worried about some of the images they had only to complain a few times to see them vanish and the publisher punished (temporarily suspended) or banned – any Facebook activist knows this. Instead they indulged in dramatic dawn raids on various flats, a farmhouse and an anarchist centre and jailed 5 young people, including a mother of 2 small kids, indefinitely without bail. It’s possible some neo-fascist politician, or a security agency, or a program like the newly uncovered PRISM, cane upon the photos, leading to the raids.
This is about repressing an anarchist resurgence, not some Facebook photos, and the political police have succeeded to some extent in dividing opinion by implying that the five planned to finance their revolutionary activities by selling drugs. This is incredible, for they are not even accused of illegal drugs, or of ANY real incident, only Facebook sharing. They are not accused, even, of conspiring to do anything, just of having been present on demos which had some incidents, and having been seen on a miners’ support demo in Asturias.
So we see that the case against the Anarchist 5 is total rubbish and they are being held as political hostages…
Read more in Español: http://wp.me/pIJl9-47e
Barcelona Five Update
Last week, the 5 anarchists arrested in the province of Barcelona were dispersed to various prisons. Up to this point, they were held in the prison of Soto del Real (Madrid) under pre-trial detention due to the "flight risk" and under the FIES3 isolation regime, as ordered by the presiding judge.
During the last few days, they were transferred to the following prisons:
Yolanda to C.P. Madrid V, Soto del Real
Silvia to C.P. Madrid VII, Estremera
Juan to C.P. Madrid II, Alcalá Meco
José Carlos to C.P. Madrid VI, Aranjuez
Xavier to C. P. Madrid IV, Navalcarnero.
All are still being held under FIES3 regime.
In regards to the judicial procedure, the lawyers (chosen by the accused) made an appeal against the order for pre-trial detention and are waiting for the results. Visits from their friends and relatives, who have already begun to travel to the various locations, have helped greatly to improve the prisoners’ state of mind. Additionally, parcels of clothes and personal goods are being sent, as well as weekly deposits to help with the expenses of the prisoners (the prison imposes a maximum of weekly expenses of €30).
If you want and can contribute economically, to allow the support group to provide for the expenses required for the care of prisoners and their families (e.g. expenses inside, clothing packages, visits, etc.), you can make a deposit to the following account number: 2038 9252 63 3000365109 (Bankia). This bank account was opened for these purposes, and its management is completely trustworthy (the bank statements will be published; it was opened in Bankia since this met the needs of being a bank with plenty of branches, where there are no commissions for both national and international deposits).
RIP Herman Wallace, A Free Man
Sadly Herman Wallace has died of liver cancer less than 3 days after finally being released from nigh on 42 years spent in solitary confinement following his and his two Angola 3 comrades, Albert Woodfox and Robert King Wilkerson, having been framed for the murder of a prison guard in 1974. He died free and amongst friends a day after being re-indicted by the Louisiana state authorities for a crime which he did not commit and which he had fought vociferously alongside his comrades, as vociferously as he and they had resisted the brutal conditions they and hundreds of thousands of his fellow prisoners are routinely subjected to in prisons across America. He fought to the very end and we will miss him.
In the meantime, Albert Woodfox remains in solitary and the prison has in recent months upped the harassment they met out daily to him, with regular strip searches and body orifice examinations despite the only people he sees being prison guards and only being allowed out of his cell for one hour a day. He still needs our support and you can find his address on our World Prisoners page.
Herman Wallace Finally Free
In a bizarre turn of events, Judge Brian A. Jackson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, who had earlier overturned Herman Wallace's conviction for the murder of a prison guard (something he and his fellow Angola 3 comrades have always denied) ordered his release, refused to leave his chambers upon hearing of the Louisiana State authorities' refusal to comply with his decision and set Herman free. The State eventually backed down and released him late yesterday, but still look likely to challenge Jackson's decision at appeal.
Herman Wallace Has Sentence Overturned But Louisiana Refuses To Release Him
Yesterday Judge Brian A. Jackson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ruled in favour of Herman Wallace, granting full habeas relief and ordering him a new trial. Judge Jackson further ordered that the State “immediately release Mr. Wallace from custody.”
However, Louisiana State authorities have refused to release him and are challenging the judge's ruling: "An ambulance is standing by outside the prison and lawyers for Wallace are also present. But the district attorney for East Baton Rouge has challenged the federal court order, and in the light of the challenge the Louisiana department of corrections is refusing to set the prisoner free."
A Message From Herman Wallace
On Saturday. August 31, I was transferred to LSU Hospital for evaluation. I was informed that the chemo treatments had failed and were making matters worse and so all treatment came to an end. The oncologists advised that nothing can be done for me medically within the standard care that they are authorized to provide. They recommended that I be admitted to hospice care to make my remaining days as comfortable as possible. I have been given 2 months to live.
I want the world to know that I am an innocent man and that Albert Woodfox is innocent as well. We are just two of thousands of wrongfully convicted prisoners held captive in the American Gulag. We mourn for the family of Brent Miller and the many other victims of murder who will never be able to find closure for the loss of their loved ones due to the unjust criminal justice system in this country. We mourn for the loss of the families of those unjustly accused who suffer the loss of their loved ones as well.
Only a handful of prisoners globally have withstood the duration of years of harsh and solitary confinement that Albert and myself have. The State may have stolen my life, but my spirit will continue to struggle along with Albert and the many comrades that have joined us along the way here in the belly of the beast.
In 1970 I took an oath to dedicate my life as a servant of the people, and although I'm down on my back, I remain at your service. I want to thank all of you, my devoted supporters, for being with me to the end.
Herman Wallace Removed From Solitary
On July 12, Louisiana’s Hunt prison reduced Herman Wallace’s classification from maximum to medium security meaning Herman is no longer being held in solitary confinement. He will stay in the prison hospital in a 10-bunk dorm, with access to a day room, and won’t have to wear leg irons. This was confirmed by visitors who saw Herman over the weekend and who took this photo of him using the exercise bike. Herman wanted to show supporters he is fighting to survive.
This is not enough. The call for Herman’s release continues with Amnesty International leading the campaign. "The wind is at our back and with your continued help our objective will be realized - freedom is in sight" says Robert King. We ask you to join us in this fight for justice.
Herman Wallace Gravely Ill, But Still In Solitary
Herman Wallace, 71, has been diagnosed with liver cancer. He is being held in a locked prison hospital room at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center at St. Gabriel, Louisiana. The prognosis is grave, according to persons with direct knowledge of the situation. Wallace is one of the two members of the Angola 3 who, along with Albert Woodfox, is still being held in solitary after more than 41 years.
Tessa Murphy, U.S. Campaigner for Amnesty International, which has taken up the case, said in an email, "The tens of thousands of Amnesty International supporters worldwide who have campaigned over the years for justice in Herman and Albert’s case will be devastated by this sad news. Herman and Albert have been held in cruel conditions of confinement for over 40 years without meaningful review; neither of the men have disciplinary record to indicate that they are a threat to themselves, fellow prisoners or staff, and the Louisiana prison authorities have since 1996 broken their own policy to justify the men’s continued detention under these conditions."
Wallace and Woodfox were placed in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 1972, following the murder of prison guard Brent Miller. The men believe they were originally targeted for the murder, and have been held in isolation ever since, because of their association with the Black Panther Party. (The third member of the Angola 3, Robert King, was freed in 2001 when his conviction for the murder of a fellow prisoner was overturned; he had spent 29 years in solitary.) Several years ago, the two men were transferred out of Angola and sent to separate, distant prisons, where they have remained in solitary.
Angola Warden Burl Cain has stated in a deposition that “Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace is locked in time with that Black Panther revolutionary actions they were doing way back when.” For this reason, he says, they must remain in solitary, because if he released them to the general population "I would have me all kinds of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them." Louisiana Attorney General James 'Buddy' Caldwell has likewise promised to keep Wallace and Woodfox behind bars. (Caldwell also claims they "have never been held in solitary confinement.")
Both men have been fighting to have their convictions overturned by the federal courts, claiming they are based on highly questionable evidence. Woodfox’s conviction was overturned for the third time earlier this year, but he remains in prison while the state appeals. Wallace lost his latest challenge, but continues to fight in the courts. At the same time, a civil case has been filed challenging the men’s four decades of solitary confinement on First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment grounds.
For 41 years, Wallace and Woodfox have spent at least 23 hours a day in cells measuring 6 feet by 9 feet. They are sometimes allowed out one hour a day to take a shower or a walk along the cellblock. Three days a week, they may use that hour to exercise alone in a fenced yard. In their civil suit, their lawyers argue that both have endured physical injury and "severe mental anguish and other psychological damage" from living most of their adult lives in lockdown. According to medical reports submitted to the court, the men suffer from arthritis, hypertension, and kidney failure, as well as memory impairment, insomnia, claustrophobia, anxiety, and depression. Even the psychologist brought in by the state confirmed these findings.
“The injustice of being held under such harsh, restrictive and inhumane conditions for over four decades is compounded by the serious legal concerns that have emerged in their cases over the years of litigation, Amnesty’s Murphy said. "Amnesty International will continue its fight for justice for Herman and Albert; with the terrible news of Herman’s health, this fight becomes more important than ever."
Two months ago Wallace had complained of feeling ill. Prison doctors diagnosed his condition as a stomach fungus and put him on antibiotics. By last week, he had lost 45 pounds, and was sent to a local hospital, where he received the news that he has liver cancer. He was returned to prison after a few days.
A team of lawyers, an outside doctor who has taken care of Wallace for years, and a psychologist briefly visited Wallace last week in a prison hospital room. Wallace was not manacled or shackled. The door was locked. There is no television and little contact with the outside world. Telephone privileges which were made available in the beginning have been revoked by the prison. According to one source, a warden ordered visitors out after ten minutes. "The level of inhumanity I am not used to," said Nick Trenticosta, one of Wallace’s attorneys in Louisiana. "I am used to bloodthirsty prosecutors who want to kill people, but not this sort of thing."
For Albert Woodfox, 66, who lived in solitary nearby Wallace at Angola and still keeps in touch by letter, the news was shocking. According to his brother Michael Mable,who saw Albert over last weekend, his brother is depressed and "afraid of dying in this prison". Mable was only able to see Woodfox through a glass partition, and Woodfox sat with his hands manacled and feet shackled while a captain and a lieutenant stood behind him, Mable said. Woodfox was strip searched, even though the interview was just a short ways from his cell. He is allowed one visit a month. Woodfox suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and hepatitis.
It is not yet clear what the next steps will be for Herman Wallace in terms of medical care. Because the prison medical record appears scant, doctors are anxious for Wallace to see an oncologist at an outside hospital. He may go there some time this week.
Asked whether the state would consider compassionate release or hospice care for Wallace, Pam Laborde, Communications Director for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said, "As you hopefully understand, I am not in a position to discuss an offender’s medical condition due to privacy concerns."
In a 2006 letter to Jackie Sumell, an artist with whom he is collaborating on a project called The House That Herman Built (now the subject of a documentary film), Herman Wallace wrote: "I’m often asked what did I come to prison for; and now that I think about it Jackie, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I came here for, what matters now is what I leave with. And I can assure you, however I leave, I won’t leave nothing behind."
Herman Wallace Diagnosed With Liver Cancer
The sad news has reached us that Angola 3 member and long-term prisoner rights activist Herman Wallace has been diagnosed with liver cancer, possibly stemming from the hepatitis C he also suffers from. The prognosis is not good - the cancer is too advanced for surgery to be successful and there is no possibility of a liver transplant. So that left chemotherapy, but Herman decided to refuse that as it was likely to buy him too little time given the debilitating side effects.
However, Herman wants the world to know that he is in good spirits and has not given up hope of release. He has lost a deal of weight but has recently been transferred from a small solitary cell in the medical unit to a regular hospital room with a private shower. He has been buoyed by the visitors he has recently received and if you want to send him your best you can write to him at:
Herman Wallace #76759,
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center,
CCR D #2,
PO Box 174,
St Gabriel, LA 70776,
Carla & Ivan Sentenced To Probation
Carla Verdugo and Ivan Silva, found guilty on June 10 of carrying a "trigger element" (under the Weapons Control Act) and carrying of explosive (under the gun control law) respectively and facing a possible 3 years in prison, have finally been sentenced to 6 years probation.
Ivan Silva & Carla Verdugo Found Guilty
Ivan Silva and Carla Verdugo were arrested on April 16 2012 in Santiago, Chile whilst carrying a fire extinguisher filled with black powder, two camping gas cylinders and 'fuses'. After spending many months in custody and then overnight house arrest, they have been on trial this month, with the prosecution making much of their links with another Security prisoner, Juan Aliste.
After a weeks trial, the closing arguments by the prosecution, Interior Ministry and defence were presented on June 10, with the judges of the Sixth oral criminal court swiftly delivering their verdicts - Ivan Silva: Guilty of carrying of explosive (under the gun control law); and Carla Verdugo: Guilty of carrying a "trigger element" (under the Weapons Control Act). They are due to be sentenced on June 15, 2013.
Because the judges did not find them guilty under any anti-terrorist legislation, it is possible they will escape prison terms, despite the prosecution demanding five years in prison for Ivan and five years and one day for Carla.
Kostas Sakkas Release Ordered - Bail Needs To Be Raised
On July 11 2013 a council of appellate judges decided to grant the release of anarchist Kostas Sakkas. The comrade had completed 38 days of hunger strike, and is still in the Nikaia hospital.
The restrictive conditions imposed are:
- a monetary bail of 30,000 euros (he must pay this amount to walk out of prison);
- a ban from leaving the country;
- a ban from leaving the region of Attica;
- an obligation to present himself every Monday at the nearest police station;
- an obligation to reside only in the home he has declared as permanent residence;
- a prohibition on communicating or meeting with any of his co-accused in the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire case (this order was imposed despite the fact that the comrade is currently standing two trials for the same case).
Health Update On Hunger Striker Kostas Sakkas
On July 4, after 31 days of hunger strike for Kostas Sakkas, the doctor who has been examining him stated that he has lost 13kg (15% of his initial body weight) and is in very critical condition. His treating physician from the general hospital of Nikaia specifically stressed out that "it is a mathematical certainty that the continuance of his complete abstention of ingesting food will lead to certain death."
In addition, the Athens assembly of solidarity for Kostas released the following clarification note:
"There has been intense misinformation over the last couple of days in relation to the health status of comrade Kostas Sakkas, as well as announcements on various sites which have nothing to do with reality. Any development in regards to the comrade’s health condition will be announced via official medical reports. In addition, at every assembly which is regularly held for the anarchist hunger striker, we provide updates concerning his condition as soon as they come."
In the meantime, trial sessions at Koridallos prison court have been postponed consecutively because Kostas Sakkas, as one of the defendants, is clearly unable to attend the proceedings. The comrade continues to wait for a response to his second motion for immediate release, and continues the fight. It is expected that the appellate judges’ council will finally issue their decision within the next week.
see also: www.anarkismo.net/article/25882
Kostas Sakkas Admitted To Hospital
On the morning of June 17, Kostas Sakkas was evacuated from the Koridallos prison’s hospital to the general hospital of Nikaia, in Piraeus. The comrade is in critical condition. [source]
Kostas Sakkas On Hunger Strike
Anarchist Kostas Sakkas began a hunger strike yesterday (June 4 2013) protesting the extension of his pre-trial detention, and demanding his immediate release from prison. Kostas is an anarchist prisoner who is currently involved in two trials underway against the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire (CCF), although he has denied his participation in the same anarchist urban guerrilla group from the moment of his arrest (December 2010.). The comrade has been kept in pretrial incarceration for 30 months already. Recently, the State prolonged his pretrial incarceration for another 6 months (and applied the same measure against anarchist Gerasimos Tsakalos, admitted member of the CCF).