Prisoner support and fightback from Black Flag #222 in 2002.
FIGHT FOR LIFE
PRISONERS in Uruguay - including anarchist activists - desperately need international solidarity.[/b]
Following a major prison mutiny the authorities are exacting revenge, torturing and beating inmates. 3 prisoners are dead, reportedly killed by guards.
The mutiny broke out on 1 March in Montevideo. Inmates rebelled against brutality and appalling conditions, taking over and largely destroying the inaptly named 'Liberty' jail.
The prisoners held 10 guards hostage, to ensure that the police did not attack and kill them all. The guards were later released unharmed.
Inmates' relatives demonstrated outside the jail, publicising the prisoners' demands concerning overcrowding, maltreatment of prisoners by the guards, a lack of medical services, etc. While the prison was encircled by army tanks and military helicopters clattered overhead, the prisoners courageously held out.
They negotiated to end the siege: the authorities agreeing that there would be no reprisals against any prisoners and that all would be transferred to other jails.
Some prisoners were transferred. But the hundreds kept in the Libertad prison have been subjected to torture and beatings.
Three prisoners have died. The authorities' claims that they committed suicide or were killed by other prisoners are not believed by inmates' relatives who suspect murder by the guards.
The authorities are searching for scapegoats for the rebellion, thus there is particular concern for 2 young anarchist prisoners, the brothers Gerardo and Miguel Jimenez, currently in Tablada prison.
Family members on the outside have been on hunger strike, as they fear for the brothers' lives. Gerardo and Miguel, of Swedish nationality, have been unjustly imprisoned for the last 3 years, for political reasons.
Friends and family of the prisoners in Uruguay stress just how important international solidarity is.
To find out more
Anarchist Black Cross, Buenos Aires
Info taken from April/May and May/June issues of Obrera Prisionera, paper of Anarchist Black Cross of Iberian Peninsula: CNA, apdo.5 de Getafe, 28901 Madrid, Spain
Satpal Ram free at last
At 7.00pm on Tuesday 18th June 2002, Satpal Ram walked through the prison gate of HMP Blantyre House, for the last time.
Satpal's conviction has not been quashed and though he is now out on licence, Satpal will continue to fight the conviction, that has kept him in prison since 1987.
Threatened with legal action that continued imprisonment of Satpal was unlawful the Treasury Solicitor for the Home Office threw in the towel last Thursday and said they would release Satpal. All that was needed to free Satpal was two signatures. Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, put his signature to the paper on Friday. A counter signature from a Home Office Minister, usually the prison minister, was then needed to complete the release papers but at this stage the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, made a personal intervention and was more than reluctant to sign Satpal's release. He should have counter signed the release on Friday but didn't, which meant Satpal had to spend another weekend in prison.
On Monday 17th and on the day of his release, numerous phone calls to Blunkett's office brought no joy, it was becoming clear that despite the advice of his own legal experts, Blunkett was stonewalling the release. Satpal's legal team were advised by the Treasury Solicitor that they stood by their original decision to release Satpal. It was clear that Blunkett who was holding up the release against their advice.
Now Satpal's solicitors, felt there was no option but to go back to court. At 6.00pm on Tuesday evening, Satpal's legal team were on their way to the High Court to apply for an order to release Satpal when David Blunkett conceded defeat and counter signed Satpal's release papers.
Mark Barnsley Released from Whitemoor Prison
Justice for Mark Barnsley Campaign, are overjoyed to announce that miscarriage of justice prisoner Mark Barnsley was finally released from Whitemoor prison on the morning of Monday 24th June 2002.
Mark walked out of maximum securty HMP Whitemoor to loud cheers and applause from waiting supporters. Friends, eager to welcome Mark out of prison had travelled from around the country and included an official delegation from the NUM, complete with their National Union banner.
After spending over 8 years in just about every Maximum security hell-hole the prison system has to offer, Mark is in good spirits and obviously glad to be finally out. Mark and his campaign would like to take tihs opportunity to thank everyone who has supported him during his wrongful imprisonment.
Whilst Mark tries to rebuild his life and adjust to living in the outside world again the Justice for Mark Barnsley campaign will continue to help him get the justice which is long overdue. Mark has been released after serving two thirds of his 12 year prison sentence but he has yet to clear his name and have his wrongful conviction overturned. Prior to his release Mark refused to sign his licence on the principle that he is an innocent man and freedom is his right.
Before Mark was even released, the Police in South Yorkshire tried to intimidate local supporters. In a very obvious attempt to make things even harder for Mark, the place where he was intending to live upon his release was visited by the local Police Intelligence Unit (Special Branch). This sadly resulted in Mark losing his new home before he was even out of prison. Thanks to friends and supporters rallying round though, a local alternative was quickly arranged so that Mark's release could go ahead and he at least has a decent place to stay. This action by the Police is obviously of concern to us and we will continue to closely monitor the situation.
If you have Mark on your mailing lists (magazines and other publications) please change his details to those below. Also if you'd like to contact Mark you can now write to him at:
C/O JfMB, PO BOX 381
HUDDERSFIELD, HD1 3XX