Our hero has not been forgotten

by Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin

Hugo Pinell, who survived over 45 years of solitary confinement torture, was not allowed a contact visit with his daughter, Allegra, until days before his assassination. This photo was taken Aug. 2, 2015. He was murdered on Aug. 12.
Hugo Pinell, who survived over 45 years of solitary confinement torture, was not allowed a contact visit with his daughter, Allegra, until days before his assassination. This photo was taken Aug. 2, 2015. He was murdered on Aug. 12.

Many times conscious prisoners become lost in their own image and forget the representation of the people as a whole. Our loss came with the death of Hugo Pinell. His introduction is not needed. He was a man among men such as Amiri Baraka, Hugo Chavez, George Jackson, Jonathan Jackson, El Hajj Malik Shabazz, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Bashir Hameed, Albert Nuh Washington and so many others. He helped bring life to a generation that had not – and some still to this day still have not – forgotten the bigger picture.

However, as conscious prisoners and political prisoners behind enemy lines, we as a community cannot forget to reach out to his daughter, the beloved child that on the day of his demise received a letter from her father that was love in the genuine sense that only a father could express to his daughter. As the old African proverb states, it takes a village to raise a child. So many times we see losses like this having happened to the children. Although she is no longer a child, she still needs the love and support of her big brothers and sisters and younger brothers and sisters. This is our duty to Hugo.

Further, it is a conscious obligation that we as a people ask ourselves and those who were present how this could happen to a man like Hugo? We must ask ourselves over and over again. He did not deserve such. Nor did his daughter deserve the tragedy of losing her dad.

The world that exists today we all play a major role within. The laws that are placed upon us and justified by legislators are because of us. We cannot change the conditions of the people until we change what is within ourselves. We must remove hate, envy, petty gripes and separatism, racism and bigotry.

It is a conscious obligation that we as a people ask ourselves and those who were present how this could happen to a man like Hugo? We must ask ourselves over and over again. He did not deserve such. Nor did his daughter deserve the tragedy of losing her dad.

We have to get our families to reach out to the lawmakers to stop mass incarceration and to help change the draconian laws like the one in New York, where the parole boards allow men who may be violent felons to earn good time, and to pass the SAFE Parole Act. Many men and women have rehabilitated after serving their minimum sentences.

The blanket statement that is being used by the parole commissioners to deny parole is obsolete. Reforms are not functioning as designed. If they had, men such as Hugo would have been released a long time ago. This can only change by our being involved.

To the daughter of Hugo Pinell, I adopt you today as my sister forever.

Send our brother some love and light: Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin, 91A2347, Shawangunk Correctional Facility CSU B1-206, P.O. Box 700, Wallkill NY 12589.

Actual innocence of Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin overlooked for 27 years by the New York State courts and the blind justice system

by Carole Seligman, based on information and correspondence with Khabir

Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin
Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin

Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin was extradited to the state of New York from New Jersey in April 1989 on a murder charge, while being held on unrelated charges. A former business acquaintance and friend of Al-Matin whom he had known for years and who had taken him in when Al-Matin would run away from home and his strict Muslim parents was murdered, and Al-Matin was charged.

Taken into custody by New York police and New Jersey authorities, he was questioned for 15 hours, all the while denying his involvement in the murder, which was the outcome of a robbery involving a large amount of money and heroin.

In a familiar frame-up scenario, several witnesses were coerced into falsely testifying against Al-Matin, including his fiancé and a prison informant. Al-Matin says: “It was clear the statements made by all parties were conjured to fit the police theory of a crime and vicious murder that took place. Only … this crime was not committed by me.

“I was sentenced to 25 years to life and have served 27 years. I have been denied parole. Everyone involved in this case benefited in some form or fashion and was given ranking status. One went on to work for the DA’s office and the district attorney became an attorney general.”

Al-Matin says: “It was clear the statements made by all parties were conjured to fit the police theory of a crime and vicious murder that took place. Only … this crime was not committed by me.”

Al-Matin’s only crime was his unrelated arrest for involvement in a drug operation and other charges to which he admitted guilt. He says, “The sentence for those charges should have ended decades ago.”

Al-Matin calls on people outside of prison to help stop the illegal injustices that persists with wrongful convictions – frame ups – in New York, including his own. He cites the cases of “Jabbar Collins, Shabaka Shakur, Derrick Hamilton, Rosean Hargrave, Manuel Lugo, The Central Park Six, Jonathan Fleming and more who have been exonerated after spending decades in New York prisons.”

Al-Matin calls on people outside of prison to help stop the illegal injustices that persists with wrongful convictions – frame ups – in New York, including his own.

To support Mahmud, people can write to the New York State Parole Board, asking for him to be granted parole release supervision in April 2016, the next scheduled review. Here is the address: Ms. Tina Stanford, Chairwoman of the NY State Parole Board, 1220 Washington Ave., Bldg. 2, Albany, NY 12226-2050.

I have been in correspondence with Khabir for over a year and have learned from him of his wrongful conviction as well as the mistreatment of Muslim prisoners in the New York correctional facilities, including the difficulties they encounter in trying to practice their religion.

His elderly mother is in poor health and lives far from the prison, so he has hardly ever been able to have visits with her over these many years. Khabir participates in every educational and cultural program available at Shawangunk Correctional Facility, both as student and teacher, to prepare himself for life outside prison walls.

“Injustice will only stand when wrongful convictions are not fought,” says Khabir. I strongly agree.

You can write to Khabir at the address above.

“Injustice will only stand when wrongful convictions are not fought,” says Khabir. I strongly agree.

Carole Seligman of Prison Radio can be reached at caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net.