Hands off John Bowden!

On 18 April 2007, after nine months in an open prison and shortly before a parole hearing to decide his suitability for release after 25 years in prison, John Bowden was placed in solitary confinement. The next day he was moved to a closed prison. Nicki Jameson writes.

On the day of John’s transfer the Dundee Courier’s front-page headline proclaimed ‘Castle Huntly killer has terror links’. The article begins: ‘A Castle Huntly prison social worker fears a brutal killer, due for parole in two weeks, has links to terrorists. A report by the social worker claims that low-security inmate John “Ginger” Bowden is in continual contact with “eco-terrorists or paramilitary members” and has received visits from “people involved in terrorism”.’

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Scottish prisoner wins battle for medical treatment

On 28 October after nearly two months on hunger strike William Johnston finally won his battle for proper medical treatment. He suffers from a spinal condition and before his imprisonment had a steel support rod inserted into his back. In prison he was effectively taken off painkillers and denied contact with the doctor.

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Organising in Scotland

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John Major's announcement of the General Election came a week after 1,000 people in Glasgow's George Square gathered to support the occupation of the City Chambers in protest against the Labour council's cuts budget. Glasgow's Labour councillors - one of whom referred to campaigners against school closures as the great unwashed' -are pushing through cuts which will fall hardest on some of the poorest working class communities in Scotland. Glasgow will lose £80 million and 1,500 jobs; Edinburgh £34 million and 800 jobs; Dundee £8 million and 100 jobs; Aberdeen 1.15 million and 200 jobs. What these figures mean on the ground is vicious.

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