International Political Prisoner Database

prisoner-solidarity-logoIt has been several months since we updated this blog because we have been knee-deep in preparing for the beta launch of Prisonersolidarity.net, a new website built by members of the Anarchist Black Cross Federation that seeks to provide a one-stop-shop for people to get accurate and up-to-date information about political prisoners worldwide. We’re seeking to solve the problem of out-of-date prisoner lists forever!

We’ve been working on this project for two years, and as a support group for political prisoners, Prisonersolidarity.net offers a number of important features:

– A searchable, exportable database of political prisoners internationally. This enables you to do things like send birthday cards to every prisoner associated with a particular movement, or find all Amazon wishlists of prisoners associated with a particular movement.
– An openly-editable database of prisons internationally that includes contact information for prison officials, links to official rules/regulations, prison history, and lists of political prisoners housed in each prison.

Additionally, we are planning a number of awesome features for the site once we get out of beta such as an ability for people to write prisoners directly from their page, have action alerts, be notified when a prisoner’s birthday is coming up, etc. We’d appreciate your input on what features you’d like to see and hope this will be an awesome organizing resource for you!

Support Parole for Herman Bell: Letters Needed

herman-bellHerman Bell has been to the New York state parole board six times and has been denied each time. His next parole board appearance will be in early February 2016. Each time, the board – always made of up former law enforcement personnel and former prosecutors — reviews his very impressive record, the Bachelor’s and Master’s college degrees he has attained since being locked up, his job offers, his numerous letters of support from family, friends, and community members from many walks of life. They have before them evidence of all the ways Herman has helped so many people throughout the course of his confinement and is still leading a positive and progressive life despite being locked up now over four decades. And then they deny him parole based on their opinion that to release him would “deprecate” the serious nature of his charge of conviction. Is this rationale not, in effect, an illegal re-sentencing to life-without-the-possibility-of parole? When one goes to trial, there is a prosecutor, one’s defense attorney, a judge, and a jury. When one goes to the parole board, there is only the prosecution.

Here’s how you can help:

write-inHerman has taken responsibility for his part in the Black Liberation Movement’s resistance to racist authority. He has paid a great price – 42 years of imprisonment, thus far. He is going to the New York state parole board for the seventh time in February 2016 and deserves to be paroled, to come home to his family and community.

1 – Please write your letter to the parole board on professional letterhead. Your letter should be addressed to: “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Parole Commissioner”. The subject line should be “Herman Bell, 79C-0262.”

2 – Please indicate how you know Herman, or if you don’t know him personally, how you know of him.

3 – Please sign your letter and mail to Herman’s attorney:
Robert J. Boyle, 277 Broadway, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10007.
Herman very much appreciates your efforts and your support.

Message from Herman Bell Fall 2015

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Chelsea Manning threatened with indefinite solitary confinement

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August 12, 2015

Aside from her 35-year prison sentence, Chelsea Manning is now facing indefinite solitary confinement to be determined in a hearing next Tuesday, August 18.

Worse yet, Chelsea faces this incomprehensibly severe punishment as a result of ridiculously innocuous institutional offenses, including the possession of books and magazines related to politics and LBGTQ issues (which she received openly via the prison mail system), and having a tube of toothpaste that was past its expiration date (apparently deemed “medical mis-use”). The catalyst for this attack on Chelsea seems to have been an incident in the mess hall where she may have pushed, brushed, or accidentally knocked, a small amount of food off of her table. She then asked to speak to her lawyer when confronted by a guard. The absurd charges were tacked on later.

These charges obviously could never justify indefinite solitary confinement- one of worst forms of psychological torture. Chelsea is now regularly publishing op-eds in the Guardian newspaper, and recently won the ability to begin hormone therapy by threatening to sue the military. It’s clear this is an attempt to silence Chelsea’s voice.

Our friends at Fight for the Future (FFTF) have created a petition where you can sign on to a letter condemning the US Army’s treatment of Chelsea.

As FFTF notes, this is a disturbing attempt to silence Chelsea’s voice.Chelsea has been very active while in prison, speaking out through her twitter account about issues of government transparency, transgender rights, and the prison system. She’s been writing a regular column for The Guardian, and even wrote a bill to reform the Espionage Act and protect journalism.These absurd charges against Chelsea, and the outrageous threat of indefinite solitary confinement, are clearly an attempt to silence Chelsea’s important voice and cut her off from the outside world.We have to make sure this attempt to silence Chelsea not only fails, but backfires. Fight for the Future has created a petition to let the U.S. government know that the whole world is watching, and we won’t stand by while they jail and torture whistleblowers who stand up for democracy and free speech. Sign and share this petition right now!

Chelsea requested that her hearing be open to the press- but she was denied. If it’s not open to the public and the press, there will be no way to ensure that Chelsea isn’t unfairly subjected to one of the worst forms of psychological torture.

Below is an actual list of the charges that were sent to Chelsea (emphasis added).

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Here’s the list of books and magazines that were taken from Chelsea and not returned: Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, Advocate, OUT Magazine, Cosmopolitan issue with an interview of Chelsea, Transgender Studies Quarterly, novel about trans issues “A Safe Girl to Love,” book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous,” book “I Am Malala,” 5 books by Robert Dorkin, legal documents including the Senate Torture Report, book: “Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential.”

“Given the materials that were confiscated, it is concerning that the military and Leavenworth might be taking action for the purpose of chilling Chelsea’s speech or even with the goal of silencing her altogether by placing her in solitary,” ACLU attorney Chase Strangio wrote. “Hopefully with public scrutiny the prison will respond by dismissing these charges and ensuring that she is not unfairly targeted based on her activism, her identity, and her pending lawsuit.”

Update: Take Action: 180 prisoners now on hunger strike; PFLP prisoners to strike Tuesday

hunger-strike-solidarity-700x357There are now 180 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on open hunger strike and hundreds more set to begin striking on Tuesday, 11 August. The wave of strikes was initiated after Israeli special forces attacked Palestinian prisoners in Nafha, injuring 30 prisoners in a violent nighttime raid, including Ahmad Sa’adat, Palestinian political leader and General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Groups of prisoners were isolated and transferred from Nafha and Palestinian prisoners launched a campaign of resistance.

TAKE ACTION: Click here for action steps to support Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

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Write/Fax-in to support Palestinian activist Amer Jubran, unjustly sentenced to 10 years in prison in Jordan

Amer-JubranFor more information about Amer’s case as well as a recorded statement by Amer on his sentencing, see freeamer.wordpress.com.

Please remember to send e-mails and faxes between Monday, August 10 and Wednesday, August 12, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the Jordanian Cabinet members listed below.

write-inE-mails/Fax numbers:

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Fax: (41 22) 917 0008 (If faxing from US: 011-41-22-917-0008)
E-mail: registry@ohchr.org

Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Abdullah Ensour
Fax number 962-6-464-2520 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-2520)
e-mail: info@pm.gov.jo

Minister of Interior
Salamah Hammad
Fax number 962-6-560-6908 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-560-6908)
e-mail: info@moi.gov.jo

Minister of Justice
Bassam Talhouni
Fax number 962-6-464-3197 If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-3197)
e-mail:  Feedback@moj.gov.jo

Sample Letter
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