Political Prisoners
Jericho March '98
January 1998

The struggle for awareness of and freedom for U.S. political prisoners (many the victims of COINTELPRO activities by the FBI) is gathering steam and will take to the streets with Jericho March 1998 on March 27-29. The march is scheduled to coincide with spring break at many schools.

A broad coalition of groups, from the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) of NJ to the New African Liberation Front are working to bring a large number of students and others to D.C. to raise a collective voice. The Iguana will have information on Jericho 98 in the coming issues and we hope to travel there and be part of it.

Leonard Peltier--Hopes are up that Leonard Peltier might get a rehearing, as a call for Senate oversight hearings into FBI misconduct in the case of Leonard Peltier may be happening in early 1998. Now is not too late to contact Senators, especially Senators Nighthorse-Campbell (CO) and Inouye (HA) who seem favorable to such hearings, and Senators Hatch (UT) and Gorton (WA), who seem opposed and let them know its time; that Leonard Peltier has spent way too much time incarcerated on flimsy or trumped up evidence, and the truth must be heard and Leonard's case reviewed.

Mumia Abu-Jamal--Judge Albert Sabo, Philadelphia's "King of Death Row" was forcibly retired in early December, probably due to intense protest and scrutiny of his record on sentencing prisoners to death and his deplorable conduct in Mumia's case. This is good news for 23 others on death row, too, who will not have to face Sabo on appeal. Of course, the problem is not one bad judge, but a racist and class-based legal system. Capital punishment: "Those without the capital get the punishment."

Alachua County Detention Center -- The Dec. 10,1997 issue of Moon Magazine contains a revealing article about abuse and denial of medical treatment to prisoners in the special needs area of the Alachua County Detention Center. The special needs pod houses prisoners with physical and mental disabilities.

Prisoners allege that people are regularly and repeatedly beaten and that many who need medical treatment have not received it, or received it so late that irreparable damage was done. One prisoner died, other prisoners say, because of denial of medical treatment.

The State Attorney's office has said it will investigate the allegations after a prisoner wrote to Judge Robert Gates with details of the situation. But the Moon reports that William Cervone, chief investigator for the State Attorney's office, said "At this point, I don't really have a timetable or any specifics."

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