Tag Archives: Political Prisoners

International Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Violations

New York City, October 22-24

Friday, October 22: Cultural event 6:00-9:00 pm
Saturday, October 23: Tribunal 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Sunday, October 24: Tribunal 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Monday, October 25: Presentation of Findings at the UN
Register here: spiritofmandela.org

An important International Tribunal is taking place October 22-24 in New York City. Organized and hosted by the Spirit of Mandela Coalition it aims to bring international attention to U.S. violations of human and civil rights of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples, spotlighting the inhumane and violating treatment of political prisoners. As an example, the U.S. is violating international law in its deliberate refusal to provide adequate medical care to U.S. political prisoners and all prisoners. Another example is the use of extended solitary confinement. Leonard Peltier, still unjustly in jail after more than 45 years, was repeatedly kept in solitary for long periods, as were many others, especially Black and Puerto Rican political prisoners. In the case of Albert Woodfox he was forced into solitary for 40 years!

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50th Anniversary of Attica Prison Uprising – September 9-13, 1971

“With our deepest respects, we dedicate this issue of TML Supplement to all the men, women and youth valiantly fighting to abolish the racist U.S. prison system and those in other countries including Canada.”

On September 9, 1971 a rebellion started at the Attica Maximum Security Prison in upstate New York which ended with the brutal massacre conducted by New York State Troopers sent in by Governor Nelson Rockefeller on September 13, 1971.

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Anniversary of US-backed coup in Chile: Commemoration of victims of the coup and call to release all political prisoners today

On the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, several Chilean-Canadian organizations, human rights organizations and Latin American solidarity groups held an all-day rally at Parc des Amériques in Montreal. The organizers called on everyone to sign and circulate the petition “Freedom to All the Political Prisoners in Chile. They said:

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Bobby Sands

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Bobby Sands died on 5 May, 1981, 40 years ago this week. This article recounts how he became inspired to join the Irish republican struggle and to lead the 1981 hunger strike against the criminalisation of political prisoners. Continue reading

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105th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Ireland

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Republican organisations are issuing statements and making speeches to mark the 105th anniversary of the heroic Easter Rising in Dublin of 1916, affirming their commitment to the unification of Ireland. Continue reading

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Bobby Sands’ Hunger Strike Diary

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Forty years ago today, Bobby Sands began his hunger strike. In order to fight Thatcher’s policy of criminalisation and secure their status as Irish political prisoners, he and his comrades were willing to fast until death. He died 66 days later, followed by nine of his comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice. In doing so, they changed the course of Irish history. 

He recorded his thoughts for the first seventeen days, setting them down for as long his mind was clear. This is his hunger strike diary. Continue reading

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Ireland: Isolated but unbowed – Frank Stagg’s hunger strike

Irish republican volunteer Frank Stagg died on hunger strike for rights as a political prisoner in an isolated British jail on the Isle of Wight, 12 February 1976, 45 years ago this week. The story of that sacrifice, by Jonathan O’Meara.

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In almost every decade of the last century, Irish republican prisoners held in jails in Ireland and England have been forced to embark on hunger strike as a last resort in support of their demands for political status. The second of the 12 republicans to die on hunger strike during the latest phase of struggle was Volunteer Frank Stagg. Continue reading

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This Day. The 1980 H-Block hunger strike in Belfast

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Irish political prisoners confined in the infamous H-Blocks of Long Kesh commenced a hunger strike on October 27, 1980, 40 years ago this week.

The hunger strike was to continue until their demands for political status and for an end to British torture were met, or until death. Continue reading

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We should never forget Bobby Sands, nor the brutality of the Thatcher government in Ireland

Today marks the 39th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands ((Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) ) inside the H-blocks of Long Kesh internment camp. On 5 May 1981, Sands laid down his life for his and his comrades’ right for recognition as political prisoners. Continue reading

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This Day. Quotes by Bobby Sands

bobbysandsdrawing.jpgToday is the 48th anniversary of the death of the heroic Irish patriot Bobby Sands (Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) after 66 days on hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. We remember Bobby and his comrades and the blanket men and the women in Armagh. In his solemn memory, we publish a brief collection of quotes, some famous, some less well known. 

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US and Canadian prisoners launch their strike against prison slavery

A prison strike poster designed by Melanie Cervantes, Xicanx artist and cultural worker and co-founder of Dignidad Rebelde. (Click to enlarge)

Incarcerated people in at least seventeen states in the U.S. have launched a prison strike from August 21st-September 9th. Inmates are engaging in work stoppages and hunger strikes, among other methods, in a bid to push for better conditions, more rights and an end to prison slavery.

The prisoners from Burnside [Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility] have joined the protest. Here is their statement:

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This day. George Jackson

September 23, 1941 – August 21, 1971

George Lester Jackson was an African-American activist, author and member of the Black Panther Party. When Jackson was 18 years old, he was sentenced from one year to life for stealing US$70 from a gas station. He spent the next 11 years in prison, eight and a half of them in solitary confinement. Continue reading

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Puerto Rico: Obama continues to ignore pleas to free political prisoner Oscar López Rivera

San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 29, 2016

BY MATT PEPPE

Two and a half months ago, asked by award-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda about imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera – whose only crime, according to Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is “conspiracy to free his people from the shackles of imperial justice,” President Barack Obama told the [Broadway musical] Hamilton creator that he “had [the case] on his desk.” Continue reading

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35 years of unjust imprisonment: Free Puerto Rican patriot Oscar López Rivera from US jails

May 29, 2016 marked the 35th year of the unjust imprisonment of Puerto Rican freedom fighter Oscar López Rivera in U.S. jails. López Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison by the U.S. colonial power for his just and principled stands to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people and spent 12 years in solitary confinement for his political stand. Today, freedom and justice-minded people across the Americas and all Puerto Rican patriots are uniting to step up the work for Oscar López Rivera’s liberation. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of López Rivera’s imprisonment all-sided efforts were underway to demand his immediate release. Continue reading

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Frongoch, the first internment camp

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Memorial at the site in Frongnoch, Wales where Irish patriots were interned following the 1916 Rebellion.

People in Wales have called on the governments in Dublin and Cardiff to provide a permanent commemorative centre in Frongoch, where 1,800 Irishmen were interned after the 1916 Rising.

The PoW camp, on the site of an old whisky distillery outside the town of Bala, held rebels such as Michael Collins, Terence MacSweeney and Richard Mulcahy.

It became known as ‘The University of Revolution’, as it was here that plans were discussed for future attacks on British rule in Ireland.

“During the summer, we sent an invitation to President Higgins to come here on the centenary of 2016,” said Councillor Alwyn Jones, who lives nearby.

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We dot the I’s: Obama, CNN and political prisoners

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By TONY SEED (Published March 21, slightly revised by the author on March 26) 

According to CNN, Cuban president Raul Castro “refused to answer the question,” when US president Barack Obama called on Jim Acosta, the Senior White House Correspondent for CNN, a Cuban-American, to ask the first question in a joint press conference with President Raúl Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana on March 21. (After the presentations by the two heads of state in the joint press conference, the floor was opened to questions from the large number of international and Cuban journalists.) Acosta cynically asked if Cuba would release political prisoners.

President Castro immediately replied:

“Give me the list of political prisoners and I will release them immediately. Just mention a list. What political prisoners? Give me a name or names. After this meeting is over, you can give me a list of political prisoners. And if we have those political prisoners, they will be released before tonight ends.” Continue reading

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This day. Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands. He stood against the nihilist British imperialism and British dismantling of communal Irish lands for the express purpose of destroying the Irish nation, Anglicizing the Irish people, disinforming their world outlook and fostering sectarianism. Bobby Sands understood that re-learning one’s indigenous language is the means to rebuild a culture and a nation.

Bobby Sands (9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981)

Today is the birthday of Bobby Sands (Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) , an Irish independence fighter and Member of Parliament who died while on a heroic hunger strike along with other Irish Republican prisoners in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland in 1981. They were incarcerated for resisting both British rule and discrimination. Their hunger strike was in protest at the conditions they faced in jail, a brutal feature of colonial rule.

Sands joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army when he was 18. Shortly after he was arrested for the possession of four handguns found in the house where he was staying. He was tortured in the Castlereagh interrogation centre and sentenced to 14 years. After that he never saw a Christmas outside prison. He died at the age of 27. Continue reading

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25/90 & An Ghaeilge: Honouring Bobby Sands and James Connolly

A REFLECTION BY TONY SEED

Mac-Talla, annual Gaelic supplement of Shunpiking Magazine, May 2006

THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY of the Easter Rising in Dublin and 25th anniversary of the H-Block hunger strikes in Belfast have become times of great celebration for the Irish people and are being commemorated throughout the world, including Canada. Activities include marches, seminars, public meetings, plays, films and exhibitions. The actions of those who stood up and fought for independence in 1916 and the courageous sacrifice of the ten hunger strikers who gave their lives in 1981 represent the best of Ireland. They typify a valiant spirit that has endured much suffering over the centuries of armed British colonial occupation. Continue reading

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