US political prisoners’ long struggle for justice

In 2007 the US prison population rose to an all-time high of 2.3 million.  More than one in every 100 adults in the US is now a prisoner. One in 106 white men one in 36 Hispanic and a staggering one in 15 black men are behind bars.  Among black men aged 20-34, the figure rises still further to one in nine.

Buried deep in the bowels of this massive prison system are political prisoners whom the US govern-ment has tried unsuccessfully to silence. The most internationally well known is Mumia Abu Jamal but there are many others. Fol­lowing the article in the last FRFI about the Lucasville Five (see Letters page in this issue) we have heard from Siddique Abdullah Hasan and publish below an edited version of his article on Mumia. We have also received letters from Ana Lucia Gelabert, who has been incarcerated for 24 years in the Texas prison system and who has written many times to FRFI, and for the first time from Ruchell Cinque Magee. FRFI also continues to campaign for the freedom of the Cuban Five (see page 12).

Ruchell Cinque Magee
Ruchell Cinque Magee is the US’s longest serving political prisoner. He has been in prison since 1963, when he was given a ‘one-year-to-life’ sentence for ‘kidnapping’ following a minor incident which in reality was little more than an argument over a bag of marijuana. In prison Ruchell became one of an increasing number of self-educated, politically conscious prisoners, who studied the law in order to challenge the system. He took the name Cinque from African freedom fighter Joseph Cinque, who seized control of a slave ship and tried to sail back to Africa. At Cinque’s trial in 1841 the Supreme Court found him not guilty of killing captives on the ship, ruling that it was illegal to enslave a free man, and that ‘a slave has the right to resist slavery’.

On 7 August 1970 Ruchell was at Marin Court House, San Rafael, Cali­fornia, as a witness for James McClain, a prisoner charged with stabbing a guard. The trial was interrupted by the armed intervention of Jonathan Jack­son, younger brother of political prisoner George Jackson. Magee, McClain and another witness, William Christ­mas, joined Jonathan in a bid for freedom. In the shooting that followed Magee was the sole survivor. He was tried, along with Angela Davis, for conspiracy, murder and kidnap of public officials. Davis was acquitted of all charges. Ruchell Cinque de­fended himself along the same lines as his namesake, contesting that as his imprisonment was itself illegal and a form of unjustifiable slavery, he had the right to escape. Despite jury acquittals at two trials on the majority of charges he has remained in prison ever since and continues to campaign vociferously for his freedom.
Write to Ruchell Cinque Magee 3A5-142 #A92051, BOX 3461, CSP Corcoran CA 93212, USA.

Unleashing the power of the people – call for international boycott to support Mumia
In light of the adverse ruling by a three-judge panel for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denying Mumia Abu Jamal a new trial and an evidentiary hearing, many of his supporters are outraged and weighing the pros and cons of what must be done to create the circumstances for his speedy release. At a press conference outside the Federal Court in Philadelphia, Sista Pam Africa hit the nail on the head when she so forcefully said: ‘The power of the people has to be unleashed because what the court did was wrong!’

Being an activist and a revolutionary thinker, I’m totally convinced that what she was conveying is that the gloves must come off and the people must be turned loose to fight fire with fire via BAMN (By Any Means Necessary).

While there are many ways to unleash the power of the people, one way is by calling for an international economic boycott against Hershey’s and other major businesses in the State of Pennsylvania. To make this boycott successful the help of the European Union and other countries interested in the quality of justice should be sought. Such a stand will serve as a supplement to the work Mumia’s lawyers and supporters are vigorously engaged in to save his life.

In a capitalistic society that prides itself on its superpower status, economic power and military might are the only languages this imperialistic government seems to respect and understand. Therefore, the heat must be turned up if we are ever going to acquire justice for Mumia.

The appellate courts have never heard the newly discovered evidence of his innocence. They have always found some flimsy excuse to repress it. In a case of actual innocence, the courts are under obligation to hear newly discovered evidence, but such has never happened in Mumia’s case.

Justice in Mumia’s case is long, long overdue. It’s been 26 years and it’s now time for the world to become morally courageous by stepping up to the plate and demanding justice for our elder Mumia Abu Jamal.
From death row, this is Siddique Abdullah Hasan

Write to Mumia Abu Jamal
#AM-8335, SCI Greene,
175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg,
PA 15370, USA and Siddique Abdullah Hasan # R130-559,
Ohio State Penitentiary 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road Youngstown OH 44505-4635, USA.

FRFI 203 June / July 2008


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