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political prisoners

The United States Has Many Political Prisoners – Here’s A List

The United States constantly accuses its adversaries of holding political prisoners, while insisting it has none of its own. But for its entire history, the US government has used incarceration of its political opponents as a tool to crush dissent and advance the interests of economic elites. Well-known cases are those entrapped or framed in US national security state sting operations, or imprisoned with extreme sentences for a minor offense because of their political activism, such as Black revolutionary George Jackson. Each period of struggle by the working class and oppressed peoples against ruling-class control results in some activists locked up for their revolutionary work. “Political prisoner” has often meant those revolutionaries jailed for fighting their national oppression, as is the case with a great number of Black Panthers.

Mumia: Unjustly Imprisoned For 40 Years

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - On July 3 people in Philadelphia and dozens of other cities across the U.S. and around the globe marked the 40th anniversary of the unlawful and unjust imprisonment of Pennsylvania political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, including 29 years on death row. Now imprisoned for life in the general population, Abu-Jamal is still fighting for exoneration. In Philadelphia activists gathered at the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall. Until June 2020, a hated statue of racist former Philadelphia Mayor and police chief Frank Rizzo stood on the plaza.

Why We Must Fight To Free Political Prisoners In 2022

Newly elected Chilean president Gabriel Boric’s victory speech was interrupted by a chant that went through the crowd: “We’re not all here.” This has become a slogan for many of the last vestiges of the 2019 Chilean uprising, a reference to the protesters who currently sit in cells, either awaiting trial or serving sentences for protesting the government. These political prisoners must be freed. What is left of the movement understands that, and they are demanding that Boric  take action to free them — something he appears very hesitant to do.

Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz Is Free, But Other Political Prisoners Languish

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz has been granted compassionate release after 50 years in prison. The length of his sentence is outrageous but it is hardly unique. The United States not only has the dubious distinction of being the country with the largest population of incarcerated people, but it also has political prisoners held longer than anywhere else in the world. Shoatz is now 78-years old and suffering from cancer. To be blunt, he is being released so that he can die outside of prison walls. Of course there is deeply felt happiness that Shoatz will be freed for whatever time remains in his life, but no one should forget the tortures he suffered, including 22 years in solitary confinement. No one should forget the other prisoners such as Mumia Abu Jamal, Ruchell Magee, Sundiata Acoli, and Dr. Mutulu Shakur.

West Papua: Violence Continues; Calls To Release Political Prisoners Strengthen

Large scale protests were held in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia at a time of heightened violence between government forces and pro-independence insurgents. On Friday, May 21, protests were held in different parts of West Papua, demanding release of political prisoners, and an end to months of violence. West Papuan cities like Manokwari, among others, witnessed hundreds participating in demonstrations. Along with protests in the Papuan provinces, Papuan communities in Java and other regions of Indonesia, also held protests condemning the violence. According to Veronica Koman, an Indonesian lawyer and human rights advocate currently in exile in Australia, a student-led protest in Semarang, Java, led to attacks from right-wing groups and over 46 Papuan and Indonesian students being detained by the police.

Report: Political Repression On The Rise In The United States

The Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) has released a comprehensive report detailing the various forms in which political repression of today’s anti-racist uprising in the U.S. has manifested itself. The report discusses findings in four key areas of investigation into deepened political repression of the uprising at the state and societal level: a surge in mass arrests and a significant rise in political imprisonments; an increase in arbitrary detentions and the militarization of streets; deaths caused by use of lethal force; and deaths caused by the ignition of racist violence and right-wing terrorism. Our findings and conclusions are summarized below.

Black August And Black Liberation: ‘Study, Fast, Train, Fight.’

Each August since 1979, the surviving sectors of the Black Liberation Movement, our supporters, and the new entrants into the ranks of resistors to the ongoing oppression against the African/Black masses and colonized peoples of this territory now called the United States and its settler state, have paid homage to our fallen freedom fighters and those incarcerated for decades in the cages of this country. The struggle for African/Black freedom in the United States began with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to this territory in 1619. The tradition of resistance to the settler state is different from the tradition celebrated by the elites of this country in response to the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Our positionality, first as an enslaved people and after the formal period of slavery as a nationally oppressed people, had forged for us a different interpretation of U.S. history and our relationship to this state.  For the Black Liberation Movement, reconciliation with the settler state toward a “more perfect union” was not only an impossibility because white-supremacist settler power has been crystallized into the state.

The Fight For Black Power Requires The Immediate Release Of All Political Prisoners!

The month of August is recognized as “Black August” by many militants associated with the prison movement. This is due in part to the impact of George Jackson, imprisoned revolutionary and Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party, who was killed in San Quentin prison on August 21, 1971. Jackson was murdered by prison guards one year after his 17-year-old brother, Jonathan, was killed escaping from a Marin County courthouse siege after taking three people hostage and demanding the liberation of black political prisoners known as the Soledad Brothers. The 2020 Annual Conference of the Black is Back Coalition will focus on the issue of political prisoners and Black Power. It is a theme that speaks to this moment in history when the resistance of African people threatens to derail the imperialist locomotive that has enslaved and dominated Africans and the world’s peoples for the last few hundred years.

Released At Last: Welcome Home, Move 9 Member Chuck Africa!

Imprisoned since he was only 18, Charles Sims Africa was finally released from Pennsylvania’s SCI Fayette on Feb. 7. The youngest and the last of the MOVE 9 to be paroled, Chuck, now 59 and recovering from cancer, was first eligible for parole in 2008 — after 30 years of incarceration.

Free All Political Prisoners –- Including Julian Assange And Chelsea Manning

All of our fates are entwined with that of Julian Assange, a political prisoner of the global imperial state. Assange, an Australian currently held in solitary confinement in Britain’s Belmarsh prison, faces 175 years behind bars if extradited to the United States, the imperial power whose international crimes and domestic machinations have been severely compromised by Wikileaks, the journalism operation Assange founded.

Visiting Britain’s Political Prisoner

I set out at dawn. Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh is in the flat hinterland of south east London, a ribbon of walls and wire with no horizon. At what is called the visitors centre, I surrendered my passport, wallet, credit cards, medical cards, money, phone, keys, comb, pen, paper. I need two pairs of glasses. I had to choose which pair stayed behind. I left my reading glasses. From here on, I couldn’t read, just as Julian couldn’t read for the first few weeks of his incarceration. His glasses were sent to him, but inexplicably took months to arrive.

Thanksgiving Statement From Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier

The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land?

Free Honduran Political Prisoners, Stop Criminalization Of Social Movements

On October 18th, 2019, Antonio “Tony” Hernández, brother of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández was found guilty of drug trafficking charges by a jury in the Southern District Court of New York. While the evidence and testimony of the trial implicate the Honduran president and other high officials of the Honduran government in “state-sponsored drug trafficking”, obstruction of justice, severe abuses of power, and violence, the Honduran regime has criminalized activists and everyone that is opposed to Juan Orlando’s administration.  The continued criminalization of activists in Honduras has led to 10 political prisoners being held pre-trial in prison and at least 173 people who face prosecution for their participation in protests or their opposition to the regime.

No Escape from Guantánamo: Former Child Prisoner Boycotts Broken Review Process, Calls It “Hopeless”

It’s now nearly ten years since a high-level government review process established by President Obama — the Guantánamo Review Task Force — issued its recommendations about what to do with the prisoners inherited from George W. Bush. The task force recommended that 156 men should be released, that 36 men should be prosecuted, and that 48 others should continue to be held without charge or trial — on the basis that they were regarded as “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution” (a self-evidently dubious designation...

In Response To Latest Mumia Appeal, Philly Cops Lash Out At District Attorney

In the face of mounting legal victories and an energized movement in the streets to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police is now attacking District Attorney Larry Krasner for failing to challenge a request by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for a new evidentiary hearing. Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, has been enlisted by the FOP to attack Krasner, despite his initial efforts to help her perpetuate Abu-Jamal’s unjust imprisonment.
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