Four prisoners unjustly sentenced to death for the Lucasville (OH) prison uprising are going on hunger strike beginning today, to demand that they be placed on Death Row rather than be held in solitary confinement (and to initiate a campaign that will hopefully lead to executive clemency). Here, the first of the prisoners to begin the strike speaks out:
If We Must Die
Before I speak my piece, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t want to die. I want to live and breathe and strive to do something righteous with my life. Truly. For the past sixteen years, however, I’ve been in solitary confinement, confined to a cell 23 hours a day for something I didn’t do, and, speaking honestly, I have gone as far as I am willing to go. Am I giving up? No. This is a protest, the only non-violent way I can think of to express the deep disdain I have for the unjust situation that I am in. Make no mistake: my physical and mental strength is intact. However, to continue on in this way would be to lend legitimacy to a process that is both fraudulent and vindictive; this I am no longer willing to do.
I realize that for some of you the thought that an innocent man could be sent to prison and ultimately executed is inconceivable. But it happens. In a system that’s based more on competition than on the equitable treatment of others, the football field is not the only place where participants are encouraged to win at any cost. Hence, in order to be victorious, some prosecutors hide evidence, lie in open court, and even pay for the perjured testimony of their witnesses. Continue reading