Tag Archive: Russell Maroon Shoatz

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster for August 2017 is Now Available

August Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Happy Black August! This month is important for highlighting the liberation of people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere, from abolition and rebellion to revolution and self-determination.
  2. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for August.(11″x17″ PDF, 1MB) Also available in color here, and as a shareable PNG here (imgur link). Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  3. The first political prisoner of the Trump regime was imprisoned in July. Dane Powell is a father, veteran, water protector, and was shown on video caring for a child pepper-sprayed by police brutalizing a crowd on the day of the inauguration. Dane’s uncompromising militancy during the Disrupt J20 mobilization was a signal fire for the rest of us. You can write him a letter today!

    Dane Powell
    DCDC #358530
    DC Jail
    1901 D St SE
    Washington DC, 20003

    There are 200 more defendants facing decades of prison for the same demonstration that our comrade Dane participated in. Please consider contributing to their letter-writing campaigns, or donating to their legal fees and travel costs.

  4. The FBI is snooping around anarchists in North Carolina, and they issued a subpoena to Katie Yow. Read up on the current happenings, read Katie’s heart-rending statement of intent to resist the Grand Jury, and prepare your own community for when the forces of repression come knocking on your doors.
  5. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  6. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Mumia Abu-Jamal, Eric King, Krow, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Political Prisoner Birthday Crew

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For August 2016 Is Now Available

***UPDATE: ERIC KING’S ADDRESS HAS CHANGED***
Here is a temporary address at which you can reach him:
Eric King #114522306
Grady County Jail
215 N. 3rd St.
Chickasha, OK 73018

August Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for August.(11″x17″ PDF, 2MB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. A special thank you to the designers of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Dylan for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  3. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  4. Political Prisoner Chelsea Manning is having a hard month. Please take some time out of your day to do something nice for her. Talk about her case with someone who has never heard of her before, learn more about her case, and if you have the time to write her a letter or a little extra to spend, please consider sending it her way.

    After years of inhumane treatment, and having been held in conditions that the UN considers to be torture, Chelsea Manning, the Guardian columnist and whistleblower who has been in prison for years serving a 35 year sentence for exposing some of the U.S. government’s worst abuses, attempted to take her own life July 5th, 2016. Now, Army officials have informed her that she is facing serious new charges directly related to her suicide attempt.

  5. Luke O’Donovan has been released! See his support website to help him with what he needs now that he is free.
  6. September 9th is right around the corner, but there’s still time to get organized in your community to prepare for prison strike and rowdy solidarity demonstrations.

    Prisoners across the US have called for a nationally coordinated work stoppage and protest starting on Sept 9th, the 45th anniversary of Attica. The safety of these prisoners and the effectiveness of the protest depend greatly on outside support. There is a robust and expanding outside support network that you or your organization could join to participate in this, the first prisoner protest of its kind. We’re hoping Sept 9th will fundamentally change not only the dialog, but the landscape of prison in America.

  7. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 347KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on the Virgin Island 3, Leonard Peltier, Chelsea Manning, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Settlement Reached in Shoatz vs. Wetzel

http://www.russellmaroonshoatz.com/

July 11, 2016: Pittsburgh PA —A settlement has been reached in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenged the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. This brings an end to litigation begun in 2013. In February 2014, following an international campaign on behalf of Shoatz, he was released from solitary confinement.

In exchange for Shoatz ending the lawsuit the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has agreed that it will not place Shoatz back in solitary confinement based on his prior disciplinary record or activities; Shoatz will have a single-cell status for life, meaning he will not have to experience the extreme hardship of being forced to share a cell following decades of enforced isolation; a full mental health evaluation will be provided; and the DOC has paid a monetary settlement.

Russell Maroon Shoatz had the following to say about the settlement: “I have nothing but praise for all of those who supported me and my family for all of the years I was in Solitary Confinement, as well as helped to effect my release. Since joining the struggle for Human Rights in the mid 1960s, I have always chosen to fight! Frederick Douglass was right when he said ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ So have no doubt that I see this Settlement as anything but the latest blow struck, and you rest assured that I will continue in the struggle for Human Rights. Straight Ahead!”

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, said: “This settlement is a major contribution to the quest to outlaw prolonged solitary confinement in the US and around the world. I congratulate Mr. Shoatz and his family for not giving up and his team of lawyers for a committed and highly professional approach to justice.”
Shoatz had been held in solitary confinement in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC) since 1983. For 19 months between 1989 and 1991 he was held in the general population of the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. Upon return to the PADOC in 1991 he was immediately placed back in solitary confinement and held there until February 20, 2014, when he was released to the general population at State Correctional Institution Graterford, 10 months after he filed suit in Shoatz v. Wetzel.

The case challenged the more than 22 consecutive years that Shoatz spent in conditions of solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment due to the severe deprivations of basic human needs imposed on Shoatz, including mental health, environmental stimulation, social interaction, sleep, physical health, and exercise. Shoatz also challenged violations of his procedural and substantive due process rights.

As noted by Judge Eddy in her February 2016 decision ordering a trial in the case, plaintiff’s expert, psychiatrist Dr. James Gilligan, stated in his report in the case that Shoatz has spent “virtually his entire adult life in complete and coerced social isolation (and sensory deprivation) – which is among the most abnormal and pathogenic environments in which it is possible to place a human being.”

The decision also quoted United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez, who was another expert for the plaintiff:
“The conditions of detention of Mr. Russell Shoatz, in particular his indefinite solitary confinement eventually lasting 29 years, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under customary international law standards. . . . [E]ven if isolation of inmates is not per se contrary to those practices, indefinite or excessively prolonged regimes of solitary confinement like the one suffered by Mr. Shoatz certainly do. In addition to the excessive duration and indefinite nature, his isolation contradicts the trend of all civilized Nations in that it was imposed on the basis of status determinations unrelated to any conduct in his part, and through a meaningless procedure that did not afford him a serious chance to challenge the outcome.”

Shoatz was released from solitary confinement after an international campaign led by his family and supporters. The campaign to release Shoatz included the support of five Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Jody Williams from the United States, and Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina. Several U.S. civil and human rights organizations also endorsed his release from isolation.

In March 2013, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Juan Mendez, called on the government “to cease the prolonged isolation of Mr. Shoat[z].” (see Democracy Now! interview with Juan Mendez and Matt Meyer discussing Maroon at this link).
Shoatz was represented in this case by Bret Grote and Dustin McDaniel of the Abolitionist Law Center; Harold J. Engel; and Reed Smith attorneys Rick Etter and Stefanie L. Burt.

Contact:
Russell Shoatz III rshoatz@gmail.com 347-697-5390
Theresa Shoatz tiye1120@gmail.com 267-456-7882
Bret Grote bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org 412-654-9070

Action Alert –Prison Officials Denying Russell Maroon Shoatz Treatment for Prostate Cancer

maroonFrom Free Russell Maroon Shoats

Action Alert –Prison Officials Denying Russell Maroon Shoatz Treatment for Prostate Cancer – Call Prison Today

Political prisoner and former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF3855 was informed that he had prostate cancer on December 9, 2014. Prison medical staff has not provided any treatment to date. Cancer does not wait for the prison bureaucracy. Maroon’s health, his life, and his rights are being violated every moment he is denied necessary cancer treatment.

Call SCI Graterford and PADOC Secretary Wetzel today and demand that Maroon be provided immediate, necessary medical care for his prostate cancer.

Call:

SCI Graterford Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz: 610-489-4151

SCI Graterford Chief Health Care Administrator Joseph Korszniak: 610-489-4151

PADOC Secretary John Wetzel: 717-728-4109

Please be firm and respectful when talking to prison staff.

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