Friends and Supporters of Jalil Muntaqim Harassed, Targeted, and Intimidated
Since Jalil’s arrival at Attica Correctional Facility in March 2011, a number of statements have been made about the continued and frequent harassment of his visitors. Despite filing numerous official reports, Jalil’s visitors have repeatedly endured undue questioning, inappropriate remarks, destruction of personal property, and denial of entry at the hands of Attica guards.
On June 5, 2012, this harassment was redirected toward Jalil when he had his cell searched and was charged with “unauthorized organization.” Denied all of his witnesses, Jalil was sentenced to 6 months in SHU for the possession of two photographs of an academic event in which a Black Panther banner was hung in the background. These photos served as the sole evidence of his “unlawful” behavior.
On March 28, this sentence was reversed in an appeal, and Jalil was immediately taken to general population. He is there now, and considers this reversal a victory for all who stood in solidarity with him, and demanded his release.
However, it appears as if the harassment of Jalil and his supporters has not stopped. Just last week, a visitor was denied entry because he “smelled like marijuana”–which was impossible.
I have been visiting Jalil weekly for two years, and have been actively supporting the reversal of the SHU sentence and his release on parole. This past December, I experienced two car break-ins within only 3 weeks. The first time, there was no sign of forced entry, nothing of value taken (despite a digital camera being in my car), and every one of my envelopes and folders were opened and strewn throughout both front and back seats. Each compartment within the car, the gas tank, and the trunk were left open, and two photographs of me and Jalil were left face-up on my passenger seat.
The second time this happened, on Christmas morning, the car was left in the exact same condition, except that a back window had been smashed out, and a hubcap removed and put into my trunk. 3 lug nuts were visibly loose on a rear wheel, and the two photographs of me and Jalil were once again pulled out of the dash and placed on my
passenger seat. Jalil was placed in SHU within weeks of this last break-in, and was released on March 29.
On Sunday, April 1 I moved into a new apartment in a quiet, residential neighborhood. On the morning of Tuesday, April 3, I found my car in the exact state I had seen twice before. Despite no sign of break-in and previously locked doors, my car was entirely ransacked. Mail collected from the day before was opened, all bags turned inside out, the underside of my seats dug out, and the photographs missing. My passport and computer were moved, but still not taken.
US law enforcement has a history of harassing the family, friends, and supporters of political prisoners. When it cannot continue to be done within prison walls, the intimidation often extends into our personal lives. And, it would come as no surprise to discover that these attempts at intimidation are being undertaken by people who wish to hinder and halt actions being taken to support Jalil and his release on parole.
This message is both a notification and a call: we know that this kind of targeting is not infrequent, and would like to reach out to other supporters or loved ones of political prisoners who have experienced similar attempts at intimidation—especially recently. The only way to stop illegal surveillance being carried out in the dark is to shine a light on it, Jalil said today, so we’re asking that others with similar stories speak about them so that we can more carefully support one another.
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FREE THEM ALL!