Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian revolutionary, is in solitary confinement in the Supermax prison at Florence, Colorado, serving a 60 year sentence for “conspiracy” to hold 3 captured CIA contractors prisoner in the FARC-held zone of Colombia. He was arrested in Ecuador in the process of negotiating with the UN for their release, then extradited to the U.S. where he was subjected to four separate trials. For years he led mass movements for social change, and many of his friends were murdered by death squads of the Colombian government. http://freericardopalmera.org
Oscar Lopez Rivera was a community activist, mainly in the areas of health care, employment, and police brutality and involved in the Puerto Rican independence struggle in the 1970s and 80s. He is imprisoned for “seditious conspiracy” and connection to armed robbery. He is currently serving his 32th year of a 55-year sentence. Avelino González Claudio reached a plea agreement of conspiracy to rob bank funds, while stating he was acting in support of the independence of Puerto Rico, and in 2008, sentenced to 7 years in prison, as well as to restitution
***** After a massive campaign for his release, Oscar Lopez Rivera has had his sentence commuted *****
Guantanamo Political Prisoners: The U.S. has held 779 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Navy base and prison. The government has known that many of them are not guilty of any crime but has held these prioners regardless. Of these 779, 693 have been released or transferred. Nine have died while in captivity. Prisoners have claimed that they have been subject to torture and harsh treatment. Several have gone on hunger strikes and many were force fed. For more information on this injustice, please go to http://www.closeguantanamo.org/
Muslim Political Prisoners: On its web site, Project Salam (http://www.projectsalam.org/) has a database that documents many of the cases of Muslim political prisoners and others who have been caught up in the FBI's fake plots. Many of them are people whom the government says may not have committed a crime but might someday in the future. These pre-crimes are call "Preemptive Prosecutions." Most in the database are Muslims. Please see the study done by Steve Downs, Esq. and Kathy Manley, Esq. of Project SALAM and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. The study can be found here: http://www.projectsalam.org/Inventing-Terrorists-study.pdf. Presently, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms and Project SALAM are on a campaign to ask for clemency for seven innocent Muslim Political Prisoners. Please go to the Project SALAM web site and sign the petition to support clemency for these political prisoners.
Rev. Edward Pinkney, the civil rights leader from Benton Harbor, Michigan is serving a 30-120 month sentence on charges of felony forgery involving petitions collected to recall the-then mayor of Benton Harbor James Hightower. This case was heard by an all-white jury which convicted Pinkney without any material or circumstantial evidence.
For more information on his case and how you can support the national movement for his release, please go to http://www.bhbanco.org/
Konstantin Yaroshenko: Russian human rights groups are demanding the release of Konstantin Yaroshenko. Yaroshenko is a Russian pilot who was arrested in Africa and interrogated by U.S. government officials. During this interrogation, Yaroshenko claims that he was beaten and tortured. Yaroshenko is one of many Russians that the U.S. has issued arrest warrants for as a means of intimidating and isolating Russia. After his illegal detention in Africa he was taken to the U.S., which is also a violation of international law, and tried for drug running, a charge that he categorically denies. He is now serving a 20 year sentence in a U.S. prison, a country he has never even visited before. Yaroshenko has been serving his sentence in solitary confinement. He has health problems that are not being addressed by the prison authorities. For more information on this case, please go to http://stop-imperialism.com/2016/05/13/10560/
Political Prisoners in the USA
The number of political prisoners in the U.S. is difficult to determine. The government claims that they do not hold political prisoners and claims that all people in prison are guilty of a crime, whether or not it was committed for political reasons. This is clearly not the case. Hundreds of Muslims have been sent to prison for activities that most would not consider criminal, such as giving money to a charity that the US - sometimes after the fact - has determined is related to an organization that they consider a terrorist group. Other Muslims have simply been caught up in fake crimes invented by FBI and other government agents to trap and convict innocent people. This has helped stoke Islamophobia in the U.S. and helped build their case for the phony "War on Terror." Also, for many in the U.S., mostly non-Caucasians, innocent people have been framed to undercut an otherwise legal movement that the government sees as a threat.
There are hundreds of political prisoners in the US. This page will not attempt to detail with all of them and will mostly concentrate on some political prisoners that UNAC or UNAC affiliated groups have worked on. If there is a particularly important case or a case that a UNAC affiliated group is working on that does not appear on this page, please send the information to UNACpeace@gmail.com and we will try to include it. Some of the information on this page can be found on the political prisoner page of the Alliance for Global Justice, which is a UNAC affiliated group. That page can be found here: http://afgj.org/politicalprisonersusa. Also the Jericho Movement has done a great job of defending political prisoners for many years. Their web site is here: http://jericho.mayfirst.org/about. Project SALAM (http://www.projectsalam.org/) and the National Coalition to Defend Civil Freedoms (http://www.civilfreedoms.org) have both been working on cases of Muslim political prisoners.
Some important cases of U.S. Political Prisoners:
Mumia Abu Jamal is the most prominent political prisoner in the US. In 1981, Cointelpro style, he was arrested and sentenced to death in an unfair trial for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman. Mumia was an organizer and campaigner against police abuses in the African-American community, and was the President of the Association of Black Journalists. During his imprisonment he has published several books and other commentaries, notably Live from Death Row. See documentaries “Mumia Abu Jamal: A Case For Reasonable Doubt?” “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary.” http://freemumia.com, http://Millions4Mumia.org, http://freemumia.org.
United National Antiwar Coalition
Chelsea Manning, sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking the video of US war crimes in Iraq and classified documents to WikiLeaks – all information that the U.S. people have a right to know. For over a year she was held in solitary confinement and subjected to psychological torture. Under public pressure, she is now in somewhat improved prison conditions. http://bradleymanning.org, http://couragetoresist.org.
***** After a massive campaign for her release, Chelsea Manning has had her sentence commuted and will be release in May, 2917 *****
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is an American-educated Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted in a U.S. court of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan and sentenced to 86 years in prison. Four British Parliamentarians wrote to President Obama that “there was an utter lack of concrete evidence tying Dr Siddiqui to the weapon she allegedly fired at a US officer” and demanded that she be freed immediately. The weapon she allegedly fired in the small interrogation room did not have her fingerprints, nor was there evidence the gun was fired. http://freeaafia.org
Leonard Peltier, an activist in the American Indian Movement, whose goal was to organize the native American communities to stand up for their rights. In a Cointelpro style operation, he was sentenced to life for murdering two FBI agents on the basis of fabricated and suppressed evidence. Evidence exonerating Peltier was withheld by the FBI. In his appeal, the government admitted it had no evidence to show he killed the two FBI agents. Peltier has been imprisoned for 35 years for this crime that he did not commit. See Robert Redford’s documentary “Incident at Oglala”. http://whoisleonardpeltier.info