Political Prisoner Gary Tyler Released!

On Friday 4/29/16, political prisoner Gary Tyler was release from Angola prison!

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Posted on huffingtonpost.com:

Louisiana Prisoner Freed After 41 Years Of Unconstitutional Life Sentence

At 16, Tyler was the youngest person on Louisiana’s death row.

Gary Tyler who has been incarcerated since he was 16 is shown in this image before his release from Angola prison in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. on April 29, 2016. Courtesy Joan Griswold/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

A Louisiana man walked free from the state’s notorious Angola prison late on Friday after serving 41 years of an unconstitutional life sentence over the shooting death of a white high school student during a violent and racially charged chapter in the state’s fight to segregate schools.

The high-profile case of Gary Tyler, 57, ended when he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 21 years – just over half of the time served – and told he could go home Friday, according to a statement released on behalf of Tyler and his attorneys.

Tyler is among a generation of prisoners who faced harsh conditions and years or even decades in solitary confinement for convictions during racially charged events in Louisiana.

Angola is considered among the toughest of the state’s prisons, once a part of a Deep South plantation and known for seething racial tensions and harsh treatment of inmates.

At age 16 in 1974, Tyler was the youngest person on Louisiana’s Death Row, where an all-white jury sent Tyler, who is black, to die for the slaying of 13-year-old Thomas Weber, a fellow Destrehan High School student in St. Charles Parish in southern Louisiana.

Tyler was aboard a bus filled with black students who were passing an unruly crowd of white students when Weber was shot, the statement said. Police found a gun on the bus and Tyler was charged with capital murder and tried as an adult.

After his death sentence, black and white students who testified against him recanted their stories. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals called his conviction fundamentally unfair and said he was never given his right to the presumption of innocence. But he never received a new trial.

In 1976, his death sentence was commuted to life after the state’s mandatory death penalty was ruled unconstitutional. In the following two decades, the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Paroles voted three times to lessen his sentence.

Still, Tyler served eight years in solitary confinement and more than 30 years in the general population, where he became a mentor and a leader. His case drew national attention as an example of the unfair convictions and over-the-top sentencing and treatment of minorities in the Louisiana justice system at the time.

In 2012, life without parole for juvenile offenders was also ruled unconstitutional, and earlier this year, a court decided the ruling should be retroactive – giving prosecutors a legal avenue to reduce Tyler’s sentence with a guilty plea on Friday.

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BREAKING! Albert Woodfox is Freed TODAY on his 69th Birthday!!

From Angola 3 News:

MEDIA COVERAGE:   UK Guardian  II  Washington Post  II  NBC  II  The Advocate (with new photo)  II Times-Picayune

Woodfox-Albert-out

(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox following his release just moments ago!! Photo from Democracy Now!)

Take a deep breath everyone,

Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6×9 foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana State officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare. Albert has maintained his innocence at every step, and today, on his 69th birthday, he will finally begin a new phase of his life as a free man.

In anticipation of his release this morning, Albert thanked his many supporters and added: “Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges.  I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”

Over the course of the past four decades, Albert’s conviction was overturned three separate times for a host of constitutional violations including prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense, racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. On June 8th, 2015, Federal Judge James Brady ordered Albert’s immediate release and barred the State from retrying Albert, an extraordinary ruling that he called “the only just remedy.” A divided panel of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals reversed that order in November with the dissenting Judge arguing that “If ever a case justifiably could be considered to present ‘exceptional circumstances’ barring re-prosecution, this is that case.” That ruling was on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court when news of his release broke.

On behalf of the Angola 3 – Albert Woodfox, Robert King, and in memory of Herman Wallace – we would like to sincerely thank all the organizations, activists, artists, legal experts, and other individuals who have so graciously given their time and talent to the Angola 3’s extraordinary struggle for justice. This victory belongs to all of us and should motivate us to stand up and demand even more fervently that long-term solitary confinement be abolished, and all the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.

For more information about the Angola 3, visit angola3.org.


STATEMENT FROM ALBERT”S LEGAL TEAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2016

Contact: Laura Burstein, laura.burstein@squirepb.com, 202-626-6868 (o); 202-669-3411 (c)

Albert Woodfox, Longest-Serving Solitary Confinement Prisoner, to be Freed from Prison After Four Decades

Statements from Albert Woodfox – One of the ‘Angola 3’ – and Attorneys George Kendall and Katherine Kimpel

February 19, 2016, West Feliciana, LA — Albert Woodfox, who spent more time in solitary confinement than any prisoner in U.S. history, will be released this afternoon from custody after more than four decades in the Louisiana prison system. Mr. Woodfox, who turned 69 today, continues to maintain his innocence for the murder that sent him to solitary confinement for more than four decades. He pled no contest to two lesser crimes before being set free.

“I want to thank my brother Michel for sticking with me all these years, and Robert King, who wrongly spent nearly 30 years in solitary.  I could not have survived without their courageous support, along with the support of my dear friend Herman Wallace, who passed away in 2013,” said Mr. Woodfox.  “I also wish to thank the many members of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, Amnesty International, and the Roddick Foundation, all of whom supported me through this long struggle.   Lastly, I thank William Sothern, Rob McDuff and my lawyers at Squire Patton Boggs and Sanford Heisler Kimpel for never giving up.  Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges.  I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”

The extreme and cruel solitary confinement endured by Mr. Woodfox and his fellow prisoners, Herman Wallace and Robert King, known as the “Angola 3,” drew international condemnation.  The unnecessary and inhumane use of solitary confinement was particularly stark in light of Mr. Woodfox’s exemplary conduct record for decades.  In fact, in the midst of litigation, the Wardens of both institutions where Mr. Woodfox was held in solitary confinement admitted that he had exemplary conduct records.

“Although we are overjoyed that Albert Woodfox is finally free, it is indefensible he was forced to endure decade after decade in harsh solitary confinement conditions, longer than any prisoner in the history of the United States,” stated George Kendall, attorney with Squire Patton Boggs, LLP.  “Albert survived the extreme and cruel punishment of 40 plus years in solitary confinement only because of his extraordinary strength and character.  These inhumane practices must stop. We hope the Louisiana Department of Corrections will reform and greatly limit its use of solitary confinement as have an increasing number of jurisdictions around the country.”

Mr. Woodfox and Mr. King, along with Mr. Wallace, brought a civil lawsuit in 2000, challenging the constitutionality of the State of Louisiana’s use of indefinite solitary confinement.  Mr. Woodfox and Mr. King confirmed that a primary goal of the ongoing litigation is to help bring light to the fact that there is no penological justification for how the State of Louisiana currently uses solitary confinement and to create incentives for reform.  As Mr. Woodfox explained, “I can now direct all my efforts to ending the barbarous use of solitary confinement and will continue my work on that issue here in the free world.”

Their case, which is pending, is supported by extensive reports from two nationally-recognized corrections experts.  Those most recent experts’ reports, from 2015, are publicly available and include extensive detail about the State system’s failings (http://bit.ly/1PUqjiG; http://bit.ly/1oNAfUv).  As a federal judge wrote, the extreme length of Mr. Wallace’s and Mr. Woodfox’s solitary confinement was “so far beyond the pale that this Court has not found anything even remotely comparable in the annals of American jurisprudence.”  See Wilkerson v. Stalder, No. 00-304 (M.D. La. Feb. 1, 2005) (Doc. No. 105 at 21).

“It is past time for our nation to leave behind its shameful legacy of being one of the only developed countries in the world that still relies so heavily on the outdated and ineffective corrections practice of indefinite solitary confinement,” commented Katherine Kimpel, partner at Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP. “That Albert Woodfox served over four decades in solitary confinement shocks the conscience and is a national embarrassment.  We should take advantage of the growing national consensus regarding corrections reform to ensure that, if our society were to be judged by entering our prisons, we would not be found lacking.”

Attorneys for Mr. Woodfox said he will now be able to receive the medical attention he desperately needs.

If you would like to speak with attorneys for Mr. Woodfox or leading experts on solitary confinement conditions and reform, please contact Laura Burstein or Jamie Moss at Laura.Burstein@Squirepb.com, 202-626-6868 (o), 202-669-3411 (c); or jamie@newspros.com, 201-788-0142.

‘Angola 3’ Case Background

In 1972, Brent Miller, a young, white guard at Angola prison, was killed. At a time when Angola prison was highly racially polarized, investigators eventually honed in on four suspects who were politically active Black Panthers.  Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were two of those men.  No forensic or physical evidence linked Mr. Woodfox or Mr. Wallace to the crime, the fingerprints found at the scene, or the bloody knife found nearby. Several alibi witnesses placed both men in different parts of the prison and away from the scene of the crime at the time of the murder.

Mr. Woodfox was originally convicted in 1973 of the murder solely on the testimony of three inmate witnesses.

However, as Mr. Woodfox learned decades after his original trial, these inmates were provided attractive incentives by the prison officials for their testimony, including promises of improved housing and a pardon.  State officials also suppressed inconsistent statements by these witnesses.

Eventually, Mr. Woodfox’s 1973 conviction was overturned because of discrimination in the selection of the grand jury that indicted him.  He was retried in 1998.  Despite the fact that two of the State’s three inmate witnesses had died, and despite the fact that they never were adequately cross-examined because of evidence hidden by prison officials, their transcripts from the prior trial were admitted into evidence and Mr. Woodfox was again convicted.

After many years of appeals, his 1998 conviction was set aside in later 2014 and he was recharged in 2015.  His lawyers waged a vigorous campaign to exclude from any new trial the prior testimony of the deceased witnesses who never were adequately cross-examined.  However, both the trial judge and the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana denied those motions, meaning that the prior statements would again be used against Mr. Woodfox at a new trial.

Although Mr. Woodfox and his legal team remained optimistic about the possibility for an acquittal at a new trial, concerns about Mr. Woodfox’s health mounted as he approached his 69th birthday. Mr. Woodfox decided to bring the case to a conclusion with today’s action. His plea of “nolo contendere” or “no contest” to two lesser charges is not an admission of guilt. It means simply that he does not contest that the State would present evidence at a new trial from witnesses who said he committed this crime. Mr. Woodfox continues, as he always has, to maintain his innocence.

Reportback on Jared Chase’s courtdate: December 7, 2015

jaychaseJay’s trial was postponed yesterday to April 11. He’ll also have a status update before that on February 3. Thank you so much to the awesome group of people who were there in solidarity. If you couldn’t make it, I understand, believe me. Asking people to deal with the arduous process of getting to and into the courthouse here is no light request.

Going into that courthouse and being screamed at and even frisked by those pigs is triggering in so many ways. It always leaves it’s mark, always opens up partially healed scars. Being back in that courtroom, watching that judge and those prosecutors carry out the States “justice” in that eerily mechanical way, so nonchalantly shitting on your life, brings back all the feelings of rage and despair better left buried alive.

Seeing Jay come out that door and looking out at us, managing a big grin through a fresh black eye and swollen face was the most bittersweet feeling. Bitter because I remember as though it was yesterday, what it’s like behind that door. The memory of those cages and what goes on will be burned into my conscience for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Too many people either forget or just don’t know. Jay is still deeply entrenched in that struggle, one of millions.

I also remember very clearly what it was like to walk through that door and see a crowd of supportive and loving people, there in solidarity and friendship. It’s a rare occurrence and one of the closest things to a moment of happiness you’ll ever feel for months and years at a time. Most go without that for longer.

It’s a testament to his strength and to the strength of most people trapped inside that in spite of the obvious desperation and brutality of what they’re going through, you can still manage a smile every now and then. Sometimes it’s all you can do to cope. It’s also one of the strongest forms of resistance available inside. A smile.

I’m glad I could be there for that like so many were for me. Thanks so much everybody for their continued support of Jay and I hope we can continue to fill up those seats and to keep the letters flowing, to keep Jay in touch with all that is happening outside. It’s too easy to forget that life still happens outside the cage and a reminder is a small flicker of light and happiness in a dark place. Til all are free

Brent Betterly

JARED CHASE (NATO 3) UPDATE

Jared Chase of the NATO 3 is serving an 8-year sentence for helping undercover cops with their own idea to make molotov cocktails, that were never used, to protest the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. Originally charged with multiple counts of terrorism under IL state law (not federal charges), he and his co-defendants were acquitted of ALL terrorism-related charges, but convicted on lesser charges including misdemeanor mob action and possession of an incendiary device with intent to commit arson.

Chase is currently scheduled to be released on parole in May 2016. However, he still has an unresolved battery charge pending, resulting from an incident with Cook County Jail guards during his pre-trial confinement. His doctor’s testimony at sentencing for the charge of possessing an incendiary device revealed that Chase’s hereditary Huntington’s disease is a likely factor contributing to his behavior in custody and the pending charges. Chase has not been receiving the recommended medical care and nutritional supplements required to treat his condition while in custody, further adding to his erratic behavior.

Chase has dismissed both his NLG attorneys and his public defender, and his trial for allegedly assaulting guards has been postponed yet again until December 7. He continues to face harsh treatment in custody, including losing “good time,” losing visitation rights, having personal property destroyed, spending time in solitary confinement and even being housed on suicide watch (despite not being suicidal). He has gone on many hunger strikes as his only recourse to demand that they meet his medical and nutritional needs, without much success.In October of 2014, Chase wrote to several supporters, “I am a transgender woman,” asking to be referred to as Maya Chase. In accordance with these stated wishes, supporters spread the word in blogs and via social media that Chase’s preferred name was Maya and pronouns were feminine. In a more recent letter, however, dated September 21, 2015, Chase explicitly requested that his legal name and male pronouns be used once again to identify him: “Also let me apologize for rushing so much in my last letter [that] I didn’t get to explain the sudden change of names. After a lot of thinking I’ve decided even though I am Bi/TS/GQ, I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life as a Woman 24/7. So you can refer to me in mascul[ine] terms.” Letters from that date forward have been signed using “Jared” or “Jay.”

Jared needs all the love and support of our community as he navigates a hostile and inhumane institution from the inside.

Letters may be sent to:
Jared Chase M44710
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764

November 25th: Day of Action to Free Oso Blanco

https://www.facebook.com/events/1522353564749916/

oso

One small way to stand against the ongoing genocide of indigenous people celebrated in u.s.-occupied Native land on November 26th* is to stand with natives who are held captive by the u.s. without the consent of the sovereign nations to which they belong.

One opportunity is the case of Oso Blanco aka Byron Chubbuck, a Cherokee sovereign citizen of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Celtic ancestry held by the u.s., without Cherokee consent, on charges trumped up by the armed career criminal act (ACCA), a part of which was struck down by the us. supreme court as “unconstitutionally vague.”
 

Things to Do . .

1) Make a small donation to Mr. Chubbuck’s legal fund at freeosoblanco.blogspot.com so that he can challenge his draconian and unjust sentence.

2) Organize a small fundraising event soon if you can–even if it is you and two friends!

3) Spread the word about this call and your event on social media hashtag #FreeOsoBlanco!

4) Find other opportunities to support indigenous self determination where you live and elsewhere!

http://freeosoblanco.blogspot.com/
#FreeOsoBlanco

https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/a-day-to-give-thanks/

http://freeosoblanco.blogspot.com/p/oso-blanco-fundraiser.html

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/19/13-words-that-could-mean-freedom-for-many#.XiQVZFSDv

Rest In Power Michael Marshall – The Latest Victim of Denver Police Violence

From Revolution News:

anti-police-denver

The Denver Sheriff Department has murdered again. Michael Marshall passed away as a result of injuries sustained at the hands of Denver sheriff deputies around 6:30pm on November 20, 2015, after over a week on life support.

What does a community do in the absence of official channels to seek justice? What does a community do in the face of killers who operate with impunity—backed by the State? Killers who, to add insult to injury, pass on the monetary and emotional costs of their brutality to the very city they brutalize.

This is the challenge facing some communities in Denver, and many communities across the United States. But it’s a challenge they’ve faced before.

In 2010, Denver sheriff deputies pummeled, tasered, and beat Marvin Booker to death in the Denver jail. Why? Booker was a 50-something, Black, slender, unhoused, and beloved street preacher, who dealt with mental health challenges, and he didn’t want to give up his shoes.

Marvin Booker wasn’t a threat. He wasn’t violent. And he didn’t need to be separated from his shoes, which were one of his only possessions.

But in the milieu of discipline and punishment, control of bodies, and the breaking of human spirits, Denver sheriff deputies used such force to separate Booker from his shoes that he subsequently died.

Nobody was reprimanded. Nobody was held to account. If you spend time in Denver’s jail today you may be held under guard by some of the same people who murdered Marvin Booker.

Ultimately, it was Denver taxpayers who forked over some recompense as they had to cover the $6 million payout made to Booker’s family.

So goes the cycle of brutality, impunity, and taxpayer burden. And now it begins anew, with a strikingly similar case of brutality to the one that stole Marvin Booker’s life. Michael Marshall, a 50-year-old, Black, unhoused, slender man, who also described himself as a street preacher and dealt with mental health challenges, lost his life at the hands of Denver sheriff deputies trying to restrain him.

Why they were trying to restrain him isn’t entirely clear, but reporting from the Colorado Independent indicates that video footage shows Marshall posed no physical threat to the officers who killed him.

After over a week on life support following his beating at the hands of three deputies, Marshall passed away.

His killers remain unidentified and will likely receive little more than a paid vacation as a result of their actions. But one thing is for sure—the community of Denver will respond.

Following Booker’s killing hundreds of Denverites took to the streets in multiple protests. Marshall’s killing will likely prompt a similar response.

Indeed, concerned citizens already rallied for a press conference and a chance to mourn with family outside the jail in which Marshall was killed.

My question: Isn’t an even stronger response warranted?

At what point does Denver rise up as we’ve seen Baltimore, Ferguson, and other cities in the face of routine police violence? And who will throw the first brick, stone, or Molotov cocktail?

anti-police-denver2

Because something needs to change.

And in spite of recommendations from independent parties, and a newly appointed sheriff, the jail’s use of force policy remains the same. And now it has again led to the killing of a harmless Black man.

Michael Marshall’s killing happens at the intersections of oppression: Racism, classism, and ableism. A paranoid schizophrenic who may or may not have been able to recognize commands coming from sheriff deputies or police officers, Marshall was held on a bond of only $100 for an alleged minor offense.

If our inJustice System wasn’t racist, classist, and ableist, Michael Marshall would’ve never found himself trapped within the cold concrete halls of the Denver jail where he would be murdered.

If our inJustice System wasn’t structured around the control of bodies, using violence to instill docility, and compelling people to follow rules structured to protect elite interests through arbitrary discipline, Michael Marshall would still be alive.

If our inJustice System truly presumed the innocence of those forced through it, nobody would sit in jail over a $100 bond, and Michael Marshall would still be alive.

If our inJustice System was designed for the people who are most-often forced through it, then it would offer them services to improve their situations, not Tasers and violence, and Michael Marshall would still be alive.

It’s long past time for this to change. What will we do to make sure that happens?

Another world is possible, but it will only come if we fight for it. So, Denver, rise up. Fight for Marvin. Fight for Michael. Fight for all those who came before them, in the hope that fewer will come after.

Prisoners’ Rights Attorneys Press Constitutional Challenge to Experimental Prison Units

From Center for Constitutional Rights:

Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

October 28, 2015, Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights appealed a district court ruling in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) secretive, highly-restrictive Communications Management Units (CMU). In 2014, CCR’s lawsuit, Aref v. Holder, uncovered hundreds of documents detailing the BOP’s process for designating prisoners to CMUs. Among other issues, the documents revealed that the BOP did not draft criteria for designating prisoners to the CMUs until three years after the first unit opened; that different BOP offices tasked with designating prisoners have different understandings of the criteria; that the reasons provided to CMU prisoners for their designation are incomplete, inaccurate, and sometimes even false; and that political speech exercised by prisoners was used as a factor in their CMU designation. In its ruling, the district court did not consider these documents, instead finding that the CMUs are not sufficiently unusual, harsh, or restrictive to trigger due process rights.

“The Bureau of Prisons has kept everything about their Communications Management Units opaque—from how you end up there to how you get out,” said plaintiff Daniel McGowan. “I only learned through this lawsuit that I was sent to the CMU because I continued to care about politics when I was incarcerated and because I wrote letters to my friends on the outside about social justice issues. Other people in the CMUs should have the right to learn why they were actually sent there, too.”

In addition to having their telephone and visitation access heavily restricted, CMU prisoners are categorically denied any physical contact with family members, forbidden from hugging, touching or embracing their children or spouses during visits. Attorneys say this blanket ban on contact visitation is unique in the federal prison system and causes suffering to people in prison and their families.

“Communications Management Units impose harsh restrictions on prisoners’ communication with their families and with fellow prisoners for years at a time,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Rachel Meeropol. “All we are seeking is an explanation of why these prisoners are being singled out for such a restrictive unit, and the chance to contest false or retaliatory placements.”

In addition to appealing the district court’s due process ruling, CCR is also appealing adverse rulings on their claims that prisoners were held in the CMUs in retaliation for First Amendment protected political and religious speech.

The CMUs were quietly opened in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Illinois, in 2006 and 2008, respectively, to monitor and control the communications of certain prisoners and isolate them from other prisoners and the outside world.  Sixty percent of CMU prisoners are Muslim, though Muslims comprise only six percent of the federal prisoner population.

The documents uncovered in CCR’s lawsuit were described in detail in a recent TED Talk by journalist Will Potter.

Read the brief filed today and for more information on Aref v. Holder, visit CCR’s case page. For more on the Center for Constitutional Rights work on mass incarceration, visit our issue page.

The law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and attorney Kenneth A. Kreuscher are co-counsel in the case.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.

 

Denver Former Political Prisoner Panel 9/24/15

From Unicorn Riot:

former-pp-panel1

On September 24, 2015, the Anarchist Black Cross along with other political prisoner support groups from across North America held an annual panel discussion called “Resisting Repression from the Inside Out: Former Prisoners Speak.”

https://livestream.com/accounts/12767816/events/4156501/videos/100187998/player?width=640&height=360&autoPlay=false&mute=false

Held at the Tivoli Student Union in Denver, the panel featured former U.S. political prisoners. The talks focused on clarifying what a multi-generational struggle for liberation looks like, the evolution of resistance to state repression, and the personal horror of living inside of the prison industrial complex.

former-pp-panel2

Jihad Abdulmumit shares a scenario on self-determination & self-defense.

“[Getting letters in prison] is what kept me human.” Panel of former prisoners speaks out in #Denver https://t.co/rptcLW6klU Live now!

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) September 25, 2015

The freedom fighting former political prisoners who spoke on the panel are (taken from Denver ABC):

Lynne Stewart photo by Rochelle B.

Lynne Stewart photo by Rochelle B.

Lynne Stewart:
Lynne Stewart, a radical human rights attorney who has devoted her life to the oppressed – a constant advocate for the countless many deprived in the United States of their freedom and their rights. Lynne was falsely accused of helping terrorists in an obvious attempt by the U.S. government to silence dissent, curtail vigorous defense lawyers, and install fear in those who would fight against the U.S. government’s racism, seek to help Arabs and Muslims being prosecuted for free speech and defend the rights of all oppressed people. She was arrested in April 2002 and arraigned before Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl, who also presided over her trial in 2004. She was convicted, and received a 28-month sentence in October 2006. However she was free on bail until 2009, when the government appealed the sentence. In late 2009 Lynne was re-sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Due to declining health from stage IV breast cancer, Lynne was freed from prison on December 31, 2013!

Mark Cook photo by Rochelle B.

Mark Cook photo by Rochelle B.

Mark Cook:
In 1967, Cook became active in a growing leftist paramilitary underground in Seattle, which perpetrated a series of high profile bombings and robberies. In and out of prison, he was co-founder of the Black Panther Party chapter in the Walla Walla State Penitentiary and served as its Lieutenant of Information for many years. In 2000, he was released after serving 24 years in prison for his participation in a bank robbery and jail break associated with the George Jackson Brigade in Seattle. The GJB was a leftist urban guerrilla group in the Pacific Northwest that carried out bombings, bank robberies and other actions to overthrow the U.S. government.

Jihad Abdulmumit photo by Rochelle B.

Jihad Abdulmumit photo by Rochelle B.

Jihad Abdulmumit:
Jihad is a community activist, motivational speaker, author and playwright. As a youth he became intensely involved in the Black Liberation Movement and Vietnam War protests. He joined the Black Panther Party at sixteen and eventually went underground in the ranks of the Black Liberation Army. In the mid-seventies prior to his incarceration, Jihad was also the Coordinator of the Rochester Federation of Youth in Rochester, New York – a youth organization that sponsored community economic development projects and weekly political education and black history classes, and worked with juvenile delinquents and high school drop outs. Jihad was a domestic political prisoner and prisoner of war and served 23 years of his life in prison for his involvement in the Black Liberation Movement.

Kazi Toure photo by Rochelle B.

Kazi Toure photo by Rochelle B.

Kazi Toure:
As a member of the United Freedom Front (UFF), Kazi was imprisoned for his role in 20 bombings combating Apartheid in South Africa and United States Imperialism in Central America. The UFF has been called “undoubtedly the most successful of the leftist [guerrilla groups] of the 1970s and ’80s” and struck powerful blows to South African Airways, Mobil, IBM, Union Carbide, & various courthouses and US Military targets. Toure was convicted on federal charges of possession of firearms, and Seditious Conspiracy—conspiring to overthrow, put down, destroy by force and violence the US government. He is one of few, if any, New Afrikans to be charged of this act.

Eric McDavid photo by Rochelle B.

Eric McDavid photo by Rochelle B.

Eric McDavid:
Eric McDavid is a green anarchist who was entrapped by an FBI informant and charged with a single count of conspiracy to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property. After serving nearly 10 years in prison his judgment and sentencing were vacated when it became known that the FBI had failed to disclose potentially
exculpatory evidence to the defense. Eric pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that carried a 5 year maximum sentence. He was released almost immediately. McDavid is a victim of a long history and concerted effort by federal and state entities in the United States to target anarchists and other radicals.

Jerry Koch photo by Rochelle B.

Jerry Koch photo by Rochelle B.

Jerry Koch:
Gerald “Jerry” Koch, a New York City anarchist and legal activist, was first subpoenaed in 2009, and again in 2013, to a federal grand jury investigating the same event. Jerry refused to testify both times and was found in contempt of court on May 21, 2013. He was imprisoned for eight months at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, and released on January 28, 2014, after his lawyers filed a “Grumbles motion” arguing that the sentence had become punitive and should be ended. The grand jury is a secretive tool of repression that aims to intimidate and punish those who refuse to collaborate with the State. Grand juries have been part of a new, escalating wave of repression against anarchists nationwide.