UK: Human Rights Activists and Lawyers Protest Political Arrest of GN Saibaba in India

[The following letter from British human rights activists and lawyers is an important internationalist act in solidarity with political prisoners in India, and particularly Professor GN Saibaba.  And it is doubly important for coming from the UK, where the repressive system of colonial laws in India was created, and continues under the purportedly "independent" and "democratic" regime in India today.  In 2012, the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) in India wrote, "...the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) (1967) .... was copied from the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance brought by the British in 1942. Today the same law has been revamped with more teeth and implemented. Since the 1950s till date every draconian law that received the gravest wrath of the masses of the people was then rehashed into another law with yet stringent clauses. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the present UAPA is in a way a clever rehashing of the old MISA, NSA, TADA, POTA etc. rolled into one made more stringent with the worst kind of clauses to stifle all forms of dissent." -- Frontlines ed.]

June 20, 2014
Letter to the Chief Justice : Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
http://www.campacc.org.uk

Your Honour,
We the undersigned would like to express our concern over the manner in which the government is increasingly resorting to the indiscriminate use of custody. In particular, the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 2008 (UAPA) is being abused indiscriminately to harass, intimidate and dissenting voices. This is part of the escalating effort to impede free speech and even thought, contrary to the Constitution of India as well as International principles of Human Rights. Such actions become pernicious in the context of the wide-ranging powers and impunity that have been available to the police and paramilitary forces under this Act. This is illustrated by the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reportedly issued instructions that persons and organizations who raise issues of human rights violations in Maoist areas must be targeted and arrested.
The recent abduction of Dr. G. N. Saibaba was particularly shocking. Dr. G N Saibaba, Asst. Professor with the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, was arrested by the Maharashtra Police on 9 May 2014 for his alleged links with Naxal leaders. He has been an active member of the Delhi University community, a very popular and respected teacher, and an important voice on democratic norms within and outside the university. He has been a vocal and important critic of the Indian state’s policies with regard to its paramilitary action in Central and Eastern tribal areas, commonly known as Operation Green Hunt. Along with other intellectuals, he has drawn attention to the blatant human rights violations of the Adivasi peoples of these regions. In particular, he has pointed out the enormous financial stakes in claiming the region for private industrial and commercial development at several national and international forums. Along with other intellectuals, he has criticized such models of “development” and their usefulness for the local populace in any participatory democracy. His sustained critique has earned him the ire of the powers that be. For some time now, they have been looking for a way to silence this very significant voice.
Dr. Saibaba is wheelchair bound, suffers from 90% disability and post-polio residual paralysis of both lower limbs. He poses no flight risk whatsoever. He is also a heart patient with blood pressure issues. Furthermore, he suffers from chronic and intense back pain as a result of the disability and being wheelchair bound. He has always cooperated fully with the investigation and did not need to be arrested. The National Human Rights Commission has already issued notice to the Maharashtra and Delhi police forces for violation of Dr. Saibaba’s rights in the course of the earlier investigation. Continue reading

India Continues State Suppression of Democratic Activists — Denies Bail and Medicine to disabled Professor Saibaba

Delhi University Community Against Police Repression

Press Release on the continued imprisonment of G.N. Saibaba, June 13, 2014

Dr G N Saibaba, who was recently abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra police and charged under the UA(P)A, has just been denied bail by the Gadchiroli Sessions court.

Despite strong legal grounds for releasing an “infirm” person on bail, under Section 437 of the CrPC despite clear and irrefutable evidence that he is 90% disabled and ill, and that, precisely because of his infirmity, he cannot jump bail, the court has decided he needs to remain arrested and in custody.

The full order is not yet available.

Today Dr Saibaba has sent a letter from jail stating that he is suffering from “excruciating pains in the joints, legs and vertebra”, that these are “ignored”, and that “no medicine is provided or tests are conducted”.

Despite suffering cardiac problems and high blood pressure, “irrelevant medicines are given, like pain killers…which are no use…. BP control medicines…are not given”. When he is medicated it is “without care for required and regular doses”. He says that the “unbearable conditions in jail will make him collapse soon”, that he is “dragging on with sheer will power” but that it is “not possible to drag on in the present condition for long.” Continue reading

Herman Wallace: Black Panther, Political Prisoner, Unbroken and (At Last) Unchained

Angola 3 Newsletter, October 13, 2013:  

We Speak Your Name  

Yesterday, Herman Wallace was laid to rest after a memorial service befitting his liberation roots.  New Orleans supporters, friends and family came together to create a magnificent send off for Herman, just the way he wanted it.

As a proud black man who struggled for justice for himself, his comrades, his people and all people, Herman wanted the remembrance to be in a community space and to provide a forum for many of his supporters to speak and most importantly to bring people together.  As you’ll see from the photos below, it was a memorable occasion. You can also read the statement that Albert Woodfox wrote for Herman, featured below.

Join Amnesty for the second line parade in honor of Herman in New Orleans on Saturday, October 19, at 2:00 pm, starting at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1210 Governor Nicholls Street, and concluding at the Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal Street.

Rest in peace and in power Herman Wallace – the struggle continues.
Continue reading

Condemn the massacre of 18,000 political prisoners in Iran in the summer 1988

On the Occasion of the 25thAnniversary

of the Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran

execution325 years ago, following its humiliating defeat in the eight years reactionary war with Iraq, the regime of

Islamic republic commenced on a secret campaign of elimination of political prisoners, in Iran. From

June till September 1988, in less than two months, the brutal henchmen of the reactionary regime

murdered an estimated, 18,000 political prisoners across the country. They included men and women,

young and old, communists, progressive and patriotic activists and intellectuals that were held in prison

across the country. Amongst those killed were activists who had already completed their prison

sentences but were recaptured and eliminated.

This heinous crime had remained uncovered until Khomeini’s designated successor, ayatollah

Montazeri, having lost his position to Khamenei (the current leader of Islamic republic), following

intense factional rivalries and power struggles, exposed some details of this genocide in his factional

rhetoric. Continue reading

California Prisoner Hunger Strike: Countdown in the Struggle for Humane Conditions

Day 32


August 8, 2013 — Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners.

 

These are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise.

 

Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly.

 

Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti. Guards are also being strategically divisive by tactically treating some prisoners nicely and others in the most demeaning ways, hoping—as the guards openly discussed in front of some prisoners—to create division so the prisoners will begin to fight each other. The guards’ goal: to undermine the hunger strike. According to these same talkative guards, this unprofessional behavior is what they were instructed to do to help bring the hunger strike to an end. Continue reading

Prof. Akinyele Umoja Discusses “We Will Shoot Back”


March 27.2013

Professor Akinyele Umoja, chair, African American Studies at Georgia State University discusses his new book: We Will Shoot Back: Armed Self-defense in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. This program was sponsored by the Stone Center and the Bull’s Head Bookstore of UNC at Chapel Hill.
This is part of the presentation Professor Umoja made at Chapel Hill,  length: 30:38
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What Will It Take to Free Our Political Prisoners?

July 16, 2013

By Liz Derias

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), a revolutionary organization based in the u.s. that fights to uphold the self-determination and the human rights of Black people in the world, has been working to free political prisoners for over three decades. The organization has actively worked on the cases of Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt, the San Francisco 8 (SF8), the MOVE 9, the Cuban 5, and more. Additionally, MXGM has worked with the founding Black August Organizing Committee of California to popularize Black August, a month of commemoration and action in support of political prisoners.

Through the heed of political prisoners Assata Shakur and Nehanda Abiodun, MXGM has also taken a lead in inspiring and mobilizing the Hip Hop generation to take action in support of political prisoners, particularly through the annual Black August Concert, which has featured artists such as Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, and others. MXGM works with other leading organizations that have championed action to free political prisoners, such as the National Black United Fund, the Prisoners of Consciousness Committee, the Nation of Islam, and numerous support committees around the world.black august

This article will describe the history and current context of political prisoners in the u.s., the conditions for them while incarcerated, and the organizing strategies employed by MXGM over the years to free them.

The Legacy of COINTELPRO

We cannot discuss the case of political prisoners in the u.s. without having an understanding of COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO, or the Counter Intelligence Program, was the federal government’s secret program during the 1950s-1970s used against many forces of the Black Liberation movement, leftists, and political dissidents in the u.s., including the Chicano Nationalist Movement and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. It was secret because it was illegal.

Under COINTELPRO, the FBI and local police forces assassinated, arrested, tortured, and framed hundreds of leftists, particularly Black leftists, who were considered to pose the greatest threat to the racist status quo of u.s. society. The tactics of COINTELPRO can be categorized in four main areas: infiltration of organizations, psychological warfare from the outside, harassment through the legal system, and extralegal force and violence, including extrajudicial killing and outright murder. The FBI’s stated motivation for the program was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order. Continue reading

Solidarity Network: “ALL OUT FOR CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE 2013″

California prisoners started a hunger strike and work actions today for basic human rights.
Support their demands – join us for a demonstration at Corcoran Saturday – July 13th!
Check out this new video!

Edited by Lucas Guilkey & Nicole Deane
Music: Fatgums ‘Kill the Vultures” & The Coup ‘My Favorite Mutiny’
 Published on Jul 8, 2013

JULY 13TH RALLY AT CORCORAN

SIGN THE PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE and become part of the EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK

SIGN THE PETITION TO GOVERNOR BROWN

MORE INFORMATION: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com

In 2011, over 12,000 prisoners and their family and community members participated in statewide hunger strikes protesting the inhumane conditions in California’s Security Housing Units (SHU or solitary confinement). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation promised meaningful reform as a result of those protests, but nothing meaningful has reached the people living in these cages. Prisoners have announced another hunger strike will begin July 8th because of CDCR’s failure to fulfill that promise. Continue reading

California prison officials say 30,000 inmates refuse meals

By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2013

California officials Monday said 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history.

Inmates in two-thirds of the state’s 33 prisons, and at all four out-of-state private prisons, refused both breakfast and lunch on Monday, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners failed to go to work or attend their prison classes, either refusing or in some cases saying they were sick.

The corrections department will not acknowledge a hunger strike until inmates have missed nine consecutive meals. Even so, Thornton said, Monday’s numbers are far larger than those California saw two years earlier during a series of hunger strikes that drew international attention.

Continue reading

Obama Visits Mandela’s Old Cell, But Won’t Free His Own Political Prisoners

Tue, 07/02/2013 -— Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

“Obama has no sympathy, however, for political prisoners of any race in his own country.”

 

Barack Obama making a highly-publicised visit to Nelson Mandela's 1980's prison cell on Robben Island

Barack Obama making a highly-publicised visit to Nelson Mandela’s 1980′s prison cell on Robben Island

President Barack Obama, a man of infinite cynicism, made a great show of going on pilgrimage to Nelson Mandela’s old prison cell on Robben Island, where the future first Black president of South Africa spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration. With his wife and daughters in tow, Obama said he was “humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield…. No shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit,” said the chief executive of the unchallenged superpower of mass incarceration, a nation whose population comprises only 5 percent of humanity, but is home to fully one-quarter of the Earth’s prison inmates.

 

True sociopaths, like the commander-in-chief who updates his Kill List every Tuesday, have no sense of shame, much less irony. Obama feigns awe at Mandela’s suffering and sacrifice in the prisons of apartheid South Africa, yet presides over a regime that, on any given day, holds 80,000 inmates in the excruciating torture of solitary confinement. During Nelson Mandela’s nearly three decades of imprisonment by the white regime, he spent a total of only about one week in solitary confinement. The rest of the time, despite often harsh treatment, backbreaking labor, and unhealthy conditions, Mandela and other political prisoners at Robben Island and other South African jails were typically housed together. Indeed, Mandela and his incarcerated comrades called the prisons their “university,” where they taught each other to become the future authorities over their jailers. Continue reading

Political Prisoner Alert — Bradley Manning Trial: An American Hero Gets Court-Martialed On June 3

by Erin Lahman in Politics, PolicyMic

bradley, manning, trial:, an, american, hero, gets, court martialed, on, june, 3,

Bradley Manning Trial An American Hero Gets Court Martialed On June 3

On June 3, the highly anticipated court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in July 2010, will take place. A previous PolicyMic article delivered specific details on the over 700,000 government documents and pieces of classified military information Manning allegedly leaked. According to the article, “Manning is charged with leaking hundreds-of-thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.”

Manning is an American hero who made the decision to leak these classified documents as a service to the general public. He testified, “I believe that if the general public had access to the information, this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general.” He added, “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

In a January 2013 ruling, Military Judge Colonel Denise Lind awarded Manning a 112-day reduction in any eventual sentence due to being subjected to excessively harsh treatment while in military detention. A month later, Judge Lind accepted Bradley Manning’s guilty pleas of 10 lesser charges that he misused classified information, though he denied “aiding the enemy.” A guilty sentence to “aiding the enemy” could languish him military prison for the remainder of his life.

Bradley Manning released the video, “Collateral Murder,” to WikiLeaks and he explained, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.” He went on, “They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.” Continue reading

Assata Shakur Becomes the First Woman Added to FBI’s Most Wanted List

Assata Shakur

Madeleine Davies
As of yesterday, former Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army Assata Shakur became the first-ever woman to be added to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. She is currently 66 years old and living in Cuba where she has been granted political asylum.

In May of 1973, Shakur was in a car that was pulled over by police on the New Jersey highway. A shootout occurred, resulting in the deaths of her companion and fellow activist Zayd Malik Shakur and State Trooper Werner Foerster. Assata Shakur was wounded in the gunfight, having been shot twice. Accounts of what happened that night differ greatly — surviving Trooper James Harper (also wounded) claimed that Zayd Malik Shakur began firing when they asked him to step out of the vehicle whereas Assata Shakur attests that the police fired first, even after she had her hands in the air.

Shakur was convicted of Foerster’s murder and sentenced to a life in prison. In 1979, with the help of allies, she was able to escape from confinement and flee to Cuba where she still lives and calls herself a “20th century escaped slave.” Continue reading

The Louder My Voice the Deeper They Bury Me

Herman Wallace

Herman Wallace

Voices from Solitary: The Louder My Voice the Deeper They Bury Me

by Herman Wallace, who has been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s prison system for almost 41 years, mostly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola.

A Defined Voice

They removed my whisper from general population
To maximum security I gained a voice
They removed my voice from maximum security
To administrative segregation
My voice gave hope
They removed my voice from administrative segregation
To solitary confinement
My voice became vibration for unity
They removed my voice from solitary confinement
To the Supermax of Camp J
And now they wish to destroy me
The louder my voice the deeper they bury me
I SAID, THE LOUDER MY VOICE THE DEEPER THEY BURY ME!
Free all political prisoners, prisoners of war, prisoner of consciousness.

Click here to listen to Herman Wallace read his poem.

for more about Herman Wallace: http://www.whoishermanwallace.com/

Source:  http://solitarywatch.com/2013/04/11/the-louder-my-voice-the-deeper-they-bury-me/

Political Prisoner News: Stand in Solidarity with Dalit activist political prisoners!

by the Democratic Student Union, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 6 April 2013

Stand in solidarity with the members of Kabir Kala Manch! Resist the branding, persecution and witch-hunt of people’s artists and activists!

NKKMausea served in the plate , the untouchable nausea 
The disgust grows in the belly, the untouchable disgust 
It’s there in the flower buds, it’s there in sweet songs 
That a man should drink another man’s blood, 
This is the land where this happens 
This is the land of hellish nausea 
– Excerpt from a song written by Sheetal Sathe
किस किस को कैद करोगे?/ लाखों हैं मुक्ति के पंछी, कैद करोगे किसको
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको/ इस पिंजरे की सलाखों का लोहा हमने ही निकाला है
ये लोहा पिघलाने हमने अपना खून उबाला है/लोहा लोहे को पहचानेगा, फिर क्या होगा समझो
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको 
- From Deepak Dengle’s poem ‘Kis Kis Ko Kaid Karoge’ penned by him in jail
Three days back, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) courted arrest outside the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan in Bombay. In May 2011, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had arrested two of KKM members Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhosle and charged them under various sections of the draconian UAPA. The charges against them were that they were Maoists who spreading issues of caste oppression and social and economic inequality. For the last two years, all that the prosecution could present in the court as evidence to prove its claims were some books and the fact that KKM highlighted the wrongs present in society and the need to change it through their songs, plays and music. This witch-hunt that the state subjected KKM to so as to prevent them for performing and taking its message to the people forced its other members to go into hiding, and the state had declared them as ‘absconders’ since. This witch-hunt by the state of Kabir Kala Manch singers, a group of young Amberdkarite singers, faced a determined opposition from the progressive and democratic sections and eventually forced the court to grant bail to its arrested members. In a landmark judgement, the Maharashtra High Court observed that highlighting issues of social and economic inequality, far from being a crime, is commendable. Questioning the logic that leads anyone raising issues of social inequality and caste oppression being branded a Maoist, the judgement interestingly observed that such a reasoning “would indicate that these issues, which are real and important, are not addressed to by anyone else, except the CPI-Maoist” and all “the other parties or social organisations are indifferent to these problems faced by the society!” While courting arrest on Tuesday, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali have made it clear that this should not be perceived as ‘surrender’ and all they expect is a fair trial without they being subject to any torture and physical abuse. Continue reading

Political Prisoner News: Naxal prisoners in India on Hunger Strike

[Amid estimates of 100,000 political prisoners in India, and an additional 70,000 Kashmiri political prisoners, ongoing waves of the prison movement across India is rarely reported.  Here, an incident this week broke into the news. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Naxal prisoners on hunger strike

April 6, 2013, Times of India

NAGPUR: Around 49 Naxals, lodged in Nagpur Central Jail, would observe a day’s hunger strike on Saturday. The prisoners have decided to participate in the hunger strike to protest thrashing of another Naxal inmate Anil Gawande by jail officials. Gawande was manhandled by the officials for refusing a body search.

Gawade and two others, after returning from Gadchiroli following their hearing, were told by the jail authorities to go for a body search before entering the jail premises. While two others allowed, Gawade disagreed to disrobe before the jail officials who wanted to conduct a thorough search. Sources informed that the enraged jail officials badly thrashed Gawade who was later admitted in the prison hospital with injuries.

After learning about Gawade, the other Naxal prisoners, including 10 women, decided to observe a hunger strike.