Peace and Freedom Party

California's Feminist Socialist Political Party

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Home News Resolutions/Statements Support the Lucasville Prisoners Hunger Strike

Support the Lucasville Prisoners Hunger Strike

On January 14, 2011, the State Executive Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party joined several hundred other organizations and individuals who signed the following petition in defense of a hunger strike at the Lucasville, Ohio, State Prison. We also cosigned an open letter from historian and activist Staughton Lynd, reprinted below after the petition. Both were circulated by the International Action Center.

Petition

To: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Moore, Ohio State Penitentiary Warden Bobby, Ohio Gov. Strickland, Attorney General Holder, President Obama

cc: Ohio Legislature, Ohio Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, members of the media

Stop the 18 year 23 hr a day lockdown of Lucasville Uprising prisoners! Overturn their wrongful convictions!

On Jan. 3, four prisoners held in the supermax Ohio State Penitentiary began a hunger strike to protest the highly restrictive conditions they have been subjected to since they were moved to the prison in 1998. These prisoners are Bomani Shakur aka Keith LaMar, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb and Namir Abdul Mateen aka James Were. They all received death sentences as the result of wrongful convictions on charges related to the 1993 prison uprising in Lucasville, Ohio. Hasan and Robb helped negotiate the settlement of the Lucasville uprising, preventing a massacre such as the one in Attica in 1971 which resulted in more than forty deaths.

In his statement of his reasons for the hunger strike Bomani states, "..we have undergone penalty on top of penalty, kept from fully participating in our appeals, from touching our friends and families, denied adequate medical treatment.. we who have been sentenced to death must be granted the exact same privileges as other death-sentenced prisoners."

The four prisoners have been kept on the highest security designation, "Level 5" throughout their time at OSP. Their solitary confinement is conducted in such a way as to ensure no contact with other prisoners even during showering and "recreation". The doors to their cells are sealed to prevent sound transmission. During visits, they are shackled even while confined within a booth, separated from their visitor by bullet-proof glass, while other death-row prisoners can have contact with their visitors through an opening in the glass.

The good behavior of these prisoners is selectively ignored during their annual reviews by prison authorities because of their alleged crimes during the Lucasville prison rebellion. They were told in writing that "your placement offense is so severe that you should remain at the OSP permanently or for many years regardless of your behavior while confined at the OSP."

While the appeals of the prisoners are at different stages, the results have not been encouraging. Attorney Staughton Lynd, who has done exhaustive investigation of their cases, has documented a clear pattern of deliberate use of perjury by prisoners who were rewarded for their false testimony. Key witnesses have recanted their testimony in recent years. The prisoners have maintained their innocence on all rebellion-related charges.

I support the prisoners' right to have their security levels fairly evaluated and reclassified so that they may participate in the small privileges afforded to other death row prisoners. The harsh treatment of these prisoners violates their constitutional rights and is widely recognized as not only inhumane but as a form of torture.

I also call for the setting aside of the seriously flawed convictions which placed these men on death row. I ask that you use your influence to ensure that the charges be dropped entirely or the men receive new trials.

Justice now for the Lucasville Uprising Hunger Strikers!

Open Letter from Staughton Lynd

Note from Staughton Lynd:
Date: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Subject: Open Letter in support of OSP hunger strikers

Friends,

Greetings.

Below please find the text of an Open Letter signed by more than 500 persons in support of the OSP hunger strikers, Keith LaMar, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, and Jason Robb...

The Open Letter has been signed by famous persons like Noam Chomsky, by individuals in Ireland, Norway, Italy, Greece and Nicaragua, and by ordinary Ohioans.

The letter will be delivered to OSP Warden David Bobby at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, the anniversary of Dr. King's birthday. If you live near enough, you are invited to join us at the church parking lot next to the OSP entrance driveway for this purpose

A small delegation will carry the letter into OSP to leave with the visitation officer.

If different ones of us have been able to visit with the Three on Friday and Saturday morning, we will report on those conversations.

On Saturday the Three will have been going without food for almost two weeks.

Staughton Lynd

On Jan. 3, four prisoners held in Ohio State Penitentiary, a supermax prison started a hunger strike to protest the highly restrictive conditions they have been subjected to since they were moved to the prison in 1998. These prisoners are Bomani Shakur aka Keith LaMar, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb and Namir Abdul Mateen aka James Were, all received death sentences as the result of wrongful convictions on charges related to the 1993 prison uprising in Lucasville, Ohio. Hasan and Robb helped negotiate the settlement of the Lucasville uprising, preventing a massacre such as the one in Attica in 1971 which resulted in more than forty deaths.

In his statement of his reasons for the hunger strike Bomani states, "..we have undergone penalty on top of penalty, kept from fully participating in our appeals, from touching our friends and families, denied adequate medical treatment.we who have been sentenced to death must be granted the exact same privileges as other death-sentenced prisoners." ..To see Bomani's complete statement, go to iacenter.org.

The four prisoners have been kept on the highest security designation, "Level 5" throughout their time at OSP. Their solitary confinement is conducted in such a way as to ensure no contact with other prisoners even during showering and "recreation". The doors to their cells are sealed to prevent sound transmission. During visits, they are shackled even while confined within a booth, separated from their visitor by bullet-proof glass, while other death-row prisoners can have contact with their visitors through an opening in the glass.

The good behavior of these prisoners is selectively ignored during their annual reviews by prison authorities because of their alleged crimes during the Lucasville prison rebellion. They were told in writing that "your placement offense is so severe that you should remain at the OSP permanently or for many years regardless of your behavior while confined at the OSP."

While the appeals of the prisoners are at different stages, the results have not been encouraging. Attorney Staughton Lynd, who has done exhaustive investigation of their cases, has documented a clear pattern of deliberate use of perjury by prisoners who were rewarded for their false testimony. Key witnesses have recanted their testimony in recent years. The prisoners have maintained their innocence on all rebellion-related charges.

Please sign on to the online petition below to support the prisoners' right to have their security levels fairly evaluated and reclassified so that they may participate in the small privileges afforded to other death row prisoners. The harsh treatment of these prisoners violates their constitutional rights and is widely recognized as not only inhumane but as a form of torture.

The wrongful convictions which placed these men on death row must also be set aside. The charges must be dropped entirely or the men must receive new trials.

 
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