August 21, 2015
Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed with the majority in its most recent capital punishment case. But in an unusual move, he dedicated almost all of his concurring opinion to condemning the practice of solitary confinement in the nation’s prisons, even though the issue, of his own admission, had “no direct bearing” on the case. In Kennedy’s lengthy opinion concerning how Ayala was incarcerated, he noted that Ayala had been isolated for most of his 25 years of custody.
August 7, 2015
The Third Annual Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey B’Earthday and Community Celebration is Saturday, Aug. 15, 2-5 p.m. Gather at the “Abundant Knowledge” mural at Marcus Books. Please bring your immense wisdom, families, original books by Garvey, red-black-green items and drums. And don’t forget to bring some funds – as each participant will receive a 10 percent discount on every item purchased that afternoon.
July 9, 2015
I caught up with Aaron Patterson’s lawyer, attorney Demitrus Evans, to get the story firsthand. This will be the first in a series of stories that I am working on to expose the cases of current day Black political prisoners in this country, because it is very important that our people know the truth about how this government deals with the people who truly do work on behalf of our empowerment.
April 23, 2015
On April 22, 1995, 4,000 to 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people, maybe more, were massacred at the Kibeho Camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Southwestern Rwanda. The Kibeho massacre is one of many committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army in Rwanda and DR Congo, but it is one of the most shocking because it was witnessed by U.N. Peacekeepers and well documented by at least two photographers, but no one was ever prosecuted for the crime.
March 17, 2015
The U.K. Foreign Office called on the Rwandan government to lift the ban on its BBC broadcast in Rwandans’ native language. The government banned the native language broadcast after the BBC broadcast “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” a documentary which upends conventional belief about the Rwandan massacres of 1994.
February 24, 2015
Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.
February 19, 2015
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in the Dominican Republic, supposedly a paradise of European development, a Haitian man named Henry Claude Jean, known as “Tulile,” a humble shoe shine worker, was found hanging in a park in Santiago, his hands and feet bound. In Haiti, the U.S.-installed Martelly dictatorship and its controlled opposition remain silent about this atrocious lynching.
December 31, 2014
Assigned to the Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB) unit, I found 80-plus patients suffering torture, sexual abuse and neglect. President Obama would recognize it as torture. The vast majority of victims were Black or Hispanic, all the abusers White. Cold, dark cells hold captives in isolated sensory deprivation – drugged, sick and in pain. Nurses prevented death only to prolong torment, sometimes for years. The number of patients suffering preventable deaths during “medical treatment” in CDCR facilities may exceed all legal executions nationwide.
October 28, 2014
Anyone even remotely familiar with my case knows about the “Mumia Rule.” That’s when the court or agency changes its rule or precedent to go against me. When Amnesty International wrote about my case, that was its essential focus: that laws and precedents that applied to other cases would be changed when it came to me. Now, the Mumia Rule has been enacted into law, the so-called Victim Revictimization Act.
October 13, 2014
Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Vereb introduced a bill, HB2533, called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, district attorneys and the attorney general to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.” The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.
September 23, 2014
Just before 7 a.m. on Sept. 23, the memorial erected on Canfield Drive, mere feet from where unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson, went up in flames. Twitter lit up with pictures and outrage. Many who were at the scene report smelling something that may have been used as an accelerant. However police and officials are saying that candles near the memorial site are what caused the blaze.
May 30, 2014
As a coalition of Africa-focused human rights and peace organizations representing a broad range of individuals, we write to express our dismay at your decision to welcome President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to your universities. We regret to inform you that your invitation of Paul Kagame to your institution co-signs his repressive practices inside Rwanda and his aggressive interventions in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
May 4, 2014
California prisoners, who suspended their 2013 hunger strike, the largest such strike in history, after two legislative leaders promised bills addressing the strikers’ demands, are now opposing one of those bills. Sen. Loni Hancock’s Senate Bill 892 would give prison regulations on “gang validation” and the new step-down program the force of law. And it would leave California with the largest population of prisoners in solitary confinement of any country in the world or state in the United States at enormous cost to the taxpayers.
April 14, 2014
Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.
March 8, 2014
On Wednesday, March 5, the full U.S. Senate failed on a procedural vote to support the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next assistant attorney general for civil rights. According to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Adegbile’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he headed the NAACP LDF is reason enough to derail his nomination.
March 5, 2014
Some activists inside the SHUs have said that the ultimate goal was to bring about a shift in public opinion, and that once public consciousness had gotten to the point where the general public in California knew that solitary confinement was torture and had to stop, the balance of power would finally tip. I believe that we are gathering momentum and approaching that time!
March 3, 2014
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
January 15, 2014
Last Tuesday, Jan. 7, a crowd of supporters gathered in the bitter cold in New Orleans’ Lafayette Square outside the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to show their support for Angola 3 inmate Albert Woodfox. Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement – or what the state of Louisiana calls “Closed Cell Restriction” – for 42 years. By most estimates, 42 years is the longest any prisoner has been held in isolation.
December 13, 2013
Today, as President Paul Kagame has finally decided to go to pay his last respects to the freedom and reconciliation hero Nelson Mandela, his Supreme Court sentenced political prisoner Madam Victoire Ingabire to 15 years in prison on final appeal, almost double the eight-year High Court sentence of Oct. 30, 2012. This is a very strong message to the whole opposition.
November 26, 2013
There’s a growing national consensus that, as Attorney General Eric Holder stated in August, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” Despite the heavy toll that mass incarceration exacts every day and in countless ways on many American communities the topic attracts remarkably little consistent coverage in the mainstream media.