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Imam Hasan locked down in runup to nationwide strike, on hunger strike since July 28

August 4, 2018

by Lucasville Amnesty

Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan

On Friday, July 27, Siddique Abdullah Hasan was locked down on a conduct report signed by Brian Wittrup at Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) central office which referred to him speaking on and receiving information about the upcoming prison strike.

“The U.S. Constitution and society makes a big deal about freedom of speech and protecting our supposedly inalienable rights; meanwhile, our government brutally clamps down on speech and other freedoms for two and a half million people it holds captive,” Ben Turk, one of the supporters says, “and the threat of incarceration looms over millions more of us, producing a profound chilling effect. Free speech in the U.S. is a perverse lie.”

Over that first weekend, supporters organized a phone zap based on word from other prisoners. It wasn’t until late Monday evening, July 30, that supporters were finally able to hear from Hasan himself via an attorney phone call with Staughton and Alice Lynd. Here is their report from that call:

“Dear Supporters,

“We had an attorney phone call with Hasan late yesterday afternoon.

“Hasan has received a lengthy conduct report. He has been charged with violations of the following rules of conduct [Ohio Administrative Code 5120-9-06]:

“(15) Rioting or causing others to riot;

“(16) Engaging in or encouraging a group demonstration or work stoppage;

“(46) Conducting business operations with any person or entity outside the institution, whether or not for profit, without specific permission from the managing officer;

“(56) Use of telephone or mail in furtherance of any criminal activity;

“(61) Any violation of any published institutional rules, regulations or procedures.

“Hasan read to us and discussed the detailed allegations, but we do not yet have a copy of the conduct report. They pertain to five different categories of activities.

“Hasan told us that most of his property has been confiscated. He has no pen, paper, kites, envelopes, stamps or legal work. He is on hunger strike, having refused all meals beginning Saturday morning, July 28. There are a security barrier and sandbags outside his cell door (presumably to prevent anyone from passing anything to him).

“He was told by the chairman of the Rules Infraction Board that they were considering referral of the matter to the Serious Misconduct Panel. See AR 5120-9-08.1, Disciplinary procedures for violations of inmate rules of conduct before the serious misconduct panel. This is a relatively new Administrative Rule, effective 2/11/2017. The Serious Misconduct Panel determines guilt and can recommend a change in security level, to be affirmed by the Chief of the Bureau of Classification. The conduct report was signed by Brian Wittrup who, as of 2017 at least, was chief of the ODRC Bureau of Classification at Central Office.

“Hasan asked us to tell his supporters that his ‘spirit us up to par.’

“Staughton and Alice Lynd”

These charges are either baseless or designed to deny prisoners’ political agency and inhibit their ability to organize. The person who signed the conduct report will also have the final say on Hasan’s security level.

It became clear to supporters that central office intends expanded action against Hasan, and they’re set up to railroad him. Supporters turned their attention to central office with a multi-day phone-zap targeting ODRC Director Gary Mohr.

These charges are either baseless or designed to deny prisoners’ political agency and inhibit their ability to organize. The person who signed the conduct report will also have the final say on Hasan’s security level.

“We need to step up our support to deter them and to get his property and hard-fought communication access back,” they say in the call to action, “Our demand is simple: Drop the charges! Free Imam Hasan!”

Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan is a revolutionary leader in Ohio prisons. While fighting a death sentence from solitary confinement for over 25 years, he has organized multiple hunger strikes, participated in lawsuits, and spoken out for prisoners’ struggles across Ohio and the United States.

In 2016 ODRC authorities also targeted and silenced him prior to the Sept. 9 nationwide strike. Read more about him at LucasvilleAmnesty.org.

“We need to step up our support to deter them and to get his property and hard-fought communication access back,” they say in the call to action, “Our demand is simple: Drop the charges! Free Imam Hasan!”

Ben Turk of Lucasville Amnesty can be reached at insurgent.ben@gmail.com. Interviews and copies of the conduct report are available upon request.

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