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POLITICAL PRISONERS   update Jan. 31, 2012

 

These pages carry an ongoing concern for North American political prisoners as one index of society's tolerance for those who put to the test their deepest convictions (political prisoners archives). Political prisoners are always concerned with a larger community than their own self-interest. How they are treated reflects the government's attitude toward the communities they represent and have risked their lives for. Current updates for:

 

Mumia Abu-Jamal   archive   1   2   3

No longer subject to the death penalty Mumia Abu-Jamal is serving life in a Pennsylvania prison. He was transferred from death row to Mahanoy State Correctional Institution's "Restrictive housing unit," ie. solitary confinement, with no access to the media. Finally on January 27th Prison Radio could report Abu-Jamal's release into the general prison population. Recommended for updates, Prison Radio [access:< http://prisonradio.wordpress.com/ >] where currently Noam Chomsky reads Mumia's "Of Idiots and Sages," a statement concerning North Carolina's forced sterilization program through the Seventies, amid U.S. programs whose victims were reportedly, 90% black.

 

David Gilbert

Longtime political prisoner Dave Gilbert's Love and Struggle: My Life in the SDS, The Weather Underground, and Beyond was published by PM Press, 2011. Kersplebedeb carries a list of events in Canada for Love and Struggle: [access:< http://www.kersplebedeb.com/davidgilbert/ls_events.html >]. Gilbert grew out of Boston and New York anti-war resistance in the Sixties, worked the Weather Underground during the Seventies, was arrested in 1981 with a unit of the Black Liberation Army. He's serving a 75 year minimum sentence for involvement in the deaths of 2 police and a guard during a Brinks robbery to raise funds. His other published works include: AIDS Conspiracy? Tracking Down the Real Genocide. He's a founder of the Certain Days Political Prisoners Calendar - the 2012 Calendar carries our "mind control" poster for November. Aside from the dates, the calendar serves a community of those who don't let prisoners disappear into a world behind walls. Proceeds from calendar sales go to the NY State Task Force on Political Prisoners, Addameer, The Freedom Archives.

 

Lynne Stewart   archive  1   2   3  

Her appeal challenging the length of her sentence goes to court February 29th in Manhattan. The government extended her prison time from 28 months to 10 years after she bravely joked about the initial sentence on the courthouse steps. Convicted of communicating on behalf of a blind imprisoned client (Islamic Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman), Stewart should never have been sentenced to jail. Fighting cancer and diabetes, over 71, currently under prison medical treatment, known through her life's work as an uncompromising lawyer for the disadvantaged of varying political beliefs, her case represents a clear public attempt to intimidate attorneys representing basic human rights. Both to help get her out of prison and to dissuade further intimidation of attorneys who have some faith in justice, there's a vigil called for Foley Square, Tom Paine Park, and the courtroom, on the evening of February 28th until the appeal hearing begins.

Subject: Lynne Stewart writes about her appeal (email received Jan. 26, 2012). This is for publication.
About the Court Argument on the 29th of February
By Lynne Stewart

 

After the disaster in July 2010, when Judge Koeltl, following the directives of the Second Circuit increased my sentence from 28 months to 10 years, our righteous indignation fueled this appeal. The government's argument will center on my testimony at trial and the alleged perjury. All of those facts were before the Court at the time of the 28 month sentence and were not the basis then of a double digit sentence.

Our Brief attacks the increased sentence on two different fronts --one on a doctrine of "substantive unreasonableness" meaning it's just too much of an increase, five fold -- given the circumstances. Secondly, we argued that the only "new" information before the Judge were my statements after my first sentence in October of 2008 and remarks I made on the Courthouse steps before I surrendered to prison. We contend strongly that this is protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and cannot be used to increase or as a basis for sentencing. (even if they hate it !!!)

The same group of 3 Judges that heard and decided the original appeal will also hear the arguments on the 29th. The government is not asking for more time; they are satisfied with their pound of flesh but it is not likely that this Court will take any action that will help me. The times are askew for prisoners and their lawsuits. ( The Brief is available at my web site lynnestewart.org).

The lawyers that argued in July of 2010 will be on board with the addition of Herald Price Fahringer, an eminent attorney in the First Amendment field (the win in the Larry Flynt Hustler case in the US Supreme Court was his. He was also in the line of fire (no injuries) when the shooting took place.) He will enthusiastically present our case. I will not be present --not unusual once imprisoned. But my spirit will be there to inspire !!!

Of course, my case has always been government firing warning shots to Lawyers, that a vigorous defense,of certain clients, if not conforming to government specifications, will be punished severely . This chill effect in these days that we are confronted with Grand Jury investigations and dismantling of Occupations is not something we should contemplate with anything less than alarm. I have just finished David Gilbert's book (Love Struggle) and the intercession of lawyers when there are arrests of designated enemies of the "state" are the only meaningful protection available.

A Large Outpouring of Support in Foley Square and Tom Paine Park and in the Courtroom will signal to these arbiters of "Justice" that attention must be paid, the 99% are watching them with suspicion and tallying up the roads not taken.

 
Partial sources online: "The Torture of Mumia Abu-Jamal Continues off Death Row," Hans Bennett, Jan.23, 2012, i>The Bullet; "David Gilbert, Political Prisoner," current, Kersplebedeb; "Lynne Stewart Appeal Brief Filed," April 1, 2011, and "Lynne Stewart Reply Brief Filed," August 4, 2011, Justice for Lynne Stewart [access:< http://lynnestewart.org/ >].

 

 
 

 


by j.b.gerald, 31 january 2012
guest contributions as noted
gerald and maas