[sixties-l] Supporters Demand Freedom for Angola 3

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Thu Jul 05 2001 - 14:47:53 EDT

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    Via Workers World News Service
    Reprinted from the July 12, 2001
    issue of Workers World newspaper


    By Anne Pruden
    Baton Rouge, La.

    On June 28, less than a week after the news that the
    Louisiana State Supreme Court had turned down Angola 3
    prisoner Albert Woodfox's appeal, a hundred "A-3" supporters
    traveled from far and near to continue demands for justice.

    Gathering at East Baton Rouge Parish Commissioner Rachel
    Morgan's court, the multinational crowd held signs
    protesting the 29 years Woodfox has spent in solitary
    confinement. They also protested against racism and the
    incarceration of Herman Wallace, another member of the
    Angola 3 who they believe is innocent.

    Wallace and Woodfox founded a chapter of the Black Panther
    Party in Louisiana's infamous Angola prison plantation in
    1971. Joined by Robert "King" Wilkerson in 1972, they fought
    the rampant brutality and discrimination as well as the
    inhuman conditions for Black and white prisoners.

    Angola officials, in retaliation for their political views,
    charged Wallace and Woodfox with a guard's murder. Later,
    they charged Wilkerson with a prisoner's murder. Prison
    authorities placed the Angola 3 in solitary confinement.
    Wallace and Woodfox still suffer this cruel and unusual

    Wallace told Workers World that "the state has a mountain of
    evidence--none of which points to Woodfox or me." This
    includes "several bloody fingerprints that were found in the
    dorm where the murdered guard was found."

    On Feb. 8 of this year, Robert "King" Wilkerson was finally
    released after proving the charges against him were false.
    He promised to fight for Wallace and Woodfox, saying, "We're
    still the Angola 3."

    In Baton Rouge June 28 the press sought Wilkerson's views on
    the hearing. Answering the Louisiana State's Attorney
    contention that Herman Wallace's three-year time limit for
    new evidence had passed, Wilkerson said, "Herman Wallace is
    innocent. Innocence has no time limit."

    Wallace can prove that the prison authorities provided
    cigarettes and an early release to the prisoner who
    testified against him.

    But Wallace was denied the right to be at his own hearing in
    Baton Rouge. Angola authorities claimed that it was an
    expensive security risk for him to be in Baton Rouge. Had he
    insisted on being present at the hearing, they would have
    scheduled it inside the 18,000-acre farm plantation known as
    the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, where no
    supporters were allowed inside.

    Wallace chose to have his comrades and supporters pack the
    Baton Rouge courtroom, where all the seats were filled. As
    Wallace later told this reporter, "I believe in the power of
    the people."

    Represented by progressive attorneys Scott Fleming and Robin
    Shulberg, Herman Wallace now must wait for the
    commissioner's recommendation on whether new evidence
    exposing the frame-up will be allowed.

    Pennsylvania death-row inmate and political prisoner Mumia
    Abu-Jamal has written this about Wallace and Woodfox, who
    face life in solitary without parole: "It is past time for
    people to organize for their life in freedom. They are
    political prisoners of the highest caliber who deserve your

    Meanwhile Albert Woodfox plans an appeal. Supporters are
    asked to join/contact the National Coalition to Free the
    Angola 3, PO Box 15644, New Orleans, LA 70175 or email
    angola3@hotmail.com, or look up the web site at
    www.prisonactivist.org/angola. In New York people can call
    (917) 549-4838.

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