Monday, July 11, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.
Lest we forget, while the Bush regime claims to represent “democracy and freedom,” the US leads the world in jailing poor and working people, and continues to hold countless political prisoners. This Confidential reports on some current cases of political prisoners, including recently-convicted attorney Lynne Stewart, long-time political prisoner and Native American activist Leonard Peltier, the recent disappearance of an immigrant family of a San Francisco Bay Area prisoner-rights activist, and the endless LA 8 case of seven Palestinian men and a Kenyan woman.
This report is also a CALL TO ACTION in defense of our sisters and brothers. Please, spend a few minutes to defend the defenders. In these perilous times, we must remain strong, vigilant and active.
1. Lynne Stewart: soon to be sentenced —
a call for letters to the judge.
Lynne Stewart, the poster child for John Ashcroft’s war on attorneys who represent unpopular clients, was convicted of all counts, and will be sentenced in September.
Lynne’s defense committee is urging people to write letters to the judge, sent to Lynne’s lawyer, asking the judge to exercise compassion in sentencing. Letters will be bound and submitted at the end of this month. The committee has asked that all letters be received by July 15, the day after Bastille Day. Log onto Lynne’s website at http://lynnestewart.org to see how to prepare your letter. As Lynne says, the attorney-client privilege is about the client, and the client is the people. As the late Phil Ochs said, “There but for fortune, may go you or I.”
Write your letter today!
For more information, see
“New York Times vs. Lynne Stewart,”
in Confidential #5.
2. The “extraordinary domestic rendition” of Leonard Peltier.
On June 30, in what has been called an “extraordinary domestic rendition,” long-time American Indian Movement political prisoner Leonard Peltier was suddenly moved from Leavenworth Penitentiary to Terre Haute Penitentiary in Indiana. He was transferred without notice to his attorneys or his family. He is being held there in solitary confinement, indefinitely. Peltier has been in prison for twenty-nine years, and is now sixty years old. He has many serious health problems, and is running out of his medication. Now is the time to act!
Write letters, fax or call to demand that this outrage be stopped:
USP Terre Haute
4700 Bureau Road South
Terre Haute, IN 47802
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street NW
Washington, DC 20534
Also, write to Leonard. The prison authorities need to see
that thousands of people want to communicate with him:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
PO Box 12015
Terre Haute, IN 47801
“The USA Patriot Act – An Expanded Deja Vu,” by Bruce Elison,
from the Guild Practitioner (National Lawyers Guild):
3. The disappearance of Gokal and Shiela Kapoor.
A long-time prison rights activist who works at Critical Resistance is urging people to speak out against the sudden disappearance of her elderly and frail aunt and uncle who were recently taken away by Homeland Security “for questioning” and, after more than two weeks, are still locked away in Pamunkey Regional Jail, near Richmond, Virginia. The Department of Homeland Security will not give the family or their lawyer any information about why they have been detained.
Gokal Kapoor, 70, and his wife, Shiela Kapoor, 69, are Hindus who entered the United States illegally in 1997 after fleeing Afghanistan to escape religious persecution by the Taliban. They applied for political asylum and had every reason to expect it would be granted. But four years later, the application was dismissed on the grounds that the Taliban’s removal from power supposedly meant that they did not have a well-founded fear of future persecution. By then they had Social Security numbers, worked at Dulles Airport, paid taxes and had hoped to be included in a U.S. program that routinely granted asylum to Hindu refugees from Afghanistan. Hindus currently do not believe they can live in Afghanistan without being persecuted.
The family has created a website which will also allow you to fax support letters:
Also see a Newsweek article about the case at:
4. LA 8 case set for trial, 18 years after their arrest.
In January 1987, seven Palestinian men and a Kenyan woman were arrested in their homes, at gunpoint, for alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-oriented section of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The eight were never accused of plotting or committing any act of terrorism — or any crime. William Webster, the FBI director at the time, testified before Congress that “if these individuals had been United States citizens,” rather than green-card holders and foreign students, “there would not have been a basis for an arrest.”
Lacking any criminal charges, the prosecutors targeted the LA 8 for deportation because they allegedly raised money for the PFLP. The initial charges involved the eight’s efforts to distribute Al Hadaf, the PFLP magazine which is available in public libraries, on college campuses and even at the US Library of Congress. The government claimed that the magazine linked the eight to an organization which advocates the “doctrines of world communism,” a deportable offense under a provision of the McCarran-Walter Act, passed during the McCarthy era. Since then, the charges against the LA 8 have been changed at least three times.
Two of the eight, Khader Musa Hamide and Michel Ibrahim Shehadeh, are scheduled for trial on July 13, for an arrest that took place over 18 years ago. The government is now seeking to deport them under a provision of the Patriot Act that forbids giving material support to terrorist organizations. The Patriot Act was passed nearly 15 years after they were arrested.
The outcome of the trial could influence not only the fate of the other six defendants, but will also have implications for those of us who happen to have forbidden written matter. Send letters to the editor of the LA Times in support of the LA 8.
For more information:
Letters should be mailed to: [email protected]