Prisons & Prisoners

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A Rioter's Prayer
Pussy Riot's Yekaterina Samutsevich on Protest, Art, and Freedom

Ekaterina Samoutsevitch of Pussy Riot was freed under "conditional liberty, " on October 10, 2012 and on the 12th gave a radio interview on “Echoes of Moscow,” part of the Gazprom Media group. It is translated from the French and edited by Iddhis Bing.

The two other members of Pussy Riot have subsequently been sentenced and shipped far from Moscow: Maria Alyokhina to a women's prison camp in Perm in Siberia and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to Mordovia. Both are mothers and both camps are reportedly among the harshest in the Russian system. It remains to be seen if they will serve the full two-year sentences. A recent Russian visitor to the commune where I live in Paris had this to say about dissent in her country: "There is freedom of expression in Russia. You can go out to the street and say whatever you want but as soon as you get organized, Putin will find a way to flatten you. Any time forces coalesce, you will be crushed." Still, one tries to be hopeful and remembers Anna Akhmatova’s great lines on the five year imprisonment of the poet Joseph Brodsky. “What a biography they’re fashioning for our red-haired friend!” she said. “It’s as if he’d hired them to do it on purpose.”

Anti-Torture Activists To Occupy Washington January 10-12

January 11 will mark the tenth anniversary of the first detainees' arrival at the U.S.-controlled detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To remember this travesty, Witness Against Torture is planning 10 days of activities in Washington, D.C. demanding an end to torture and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and that the president reject the just-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

Jan. 2-12: WAT sponsors Hungering for Justice, a 10-day fast highlighting the ongoing crimes at Guantanamo and Bagram. Dozens of activists are expected to participate in the fast in Washington as well as other cities. Locations of daily activities in support of the fast to be announced.

Stop Arbitrary Detentions in Turkey
Jadaliyya Reports

The international public has so far been oblivious to the so-called “KCK operations” carried out in Turkey by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party for the past two years. Under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” the Erdogan government has been using the judiciary, the police, and the media to penalize all civic activism in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The “KCK operations” in particular have been deployed to spread fear amongst activists, to silence public dissent, and to normalize the arbitrary arrest of citizens. Ironically, the Erdogan government’s suppression of dissent and of democratic politics has visibly intensified at a time when “Turkish democracy” is being hailed as a model for the Arab world.

New York as the Occupied Territories
Mark LeVine

As the US security state grows and civil rights and liberties erode, Osama bin Laden gets the last laugh. A recently exposed decade-long relationship between the CIA and NYPD that shows how the two agencies have worked together to monitor Muslim communities in New York has alarmed lawyers and analysts

Only two weeks before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Associated Press has broken a story that reminds us of just how much America has changed during the last decade, and how the government - and as important, some of the country's most powerful corporations - routinely intrude into the lives of communities and individuals in a manner that would few would have thought imaginable the day before the planes struck the World Trade Center.

After a lengthy investigation, the Associated Press has published a story detailing a highly secretive decade-long relationship between the CIA and the New York Police Department (NYPD), in which the two agencies have worked together in "a massive covert programme to monitor the Muslim communities" living in the New York metropolitan area and surrounding regions.

Urgent Appeal: Eight South Korean Labor Activists Face 5-7 Years in Prison Loren Goldner [I don't believe too much in the efficacy of the kind of write-in protest advocated below, but an international spotlight on this case just might have an effect on the final sentencing of these exemplary militants. Please distribute far and wide.] On Dec. 3 of last year, the prosecutor in the Seoul Central District Court demanded prison terms of 5-7 years for Oh sei-chull and other members (Yang Hyo-seok, Yang Joon-seok, Choi Young-ik, Park Joon-seon, Jeong Won-hyung, and Oh Min-gyu) of the Socialist Workers’ Alliance of Korea (SWLK), a revolutionary socialist group. These activists in the Korean working-class movement were indicted under South Korea’s notorious National Security Law (passed in 1948 and theoretically still stipulating the death penalty for “pro-North” activities). The eight militants of the SWLK, who as internationalists advocate working-class revolution in both Koreas, were accused of no specific crime except being socialists, but in reality the indictment resulted from their intervention in several strikes and movements going back to 2007.
International Week of Actions in Solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine An international week of actions has been called for 10th - 16th of January, 2011 in support of the Reykjavik Nine, nine individuals including anarchists and radical leftists, who face up to 16 years in prison for protest against the Icelandic parliament.
Jeff Luers Back in Custody After Mistaken Release PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Self-proclaimed anarchist Jeff Luers was released Friday after years in prison for setting trucks ablaze in an environmental protest — but he was back in custody within hours. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Black said a mistake was made in calculating the amount to time off Luers could get for good behavior.
Refugee Camp in Greece Destroyed Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants in Patras. The consequences of the war by EU and US in Afghanistan are more than apparent in Greece. This war created thousands of refugees who are trying to survive by traveling to “democratic” Europe. Thousands have died on this “journey” and those that arrived alive face a “fortress Europe.” The following is a report about the destruction of a point of arrival, a refugee camp, in the third biggest town in Greece, Patras. The Patras refugee camp was destroyed on July 12, 2009. It had a lifetime of approximately eight years. Located in the north of the city, next to a small river - Milichos - behind Iroon Polytechniou Avenue, it consisted of about 150 small huts, in an area of 5 to 6 acres, with a mosque in the center and a few improvised shops. It hosted and protected 1000 to 2000 refugees from Afghanistan. Though it was an improvised camp, under miserable hygienic conditions, it was the last refuge, the last hope for refugees in Patras. At least 300 of them had applied for asylum and had managed to get a “red card,” while 200 others wanted one, but could not apply, since the authorities who are responsible for accepting and processing applications did not have a translator.
Interview with Julien Coupat Not Bored Here are the responses to the questions that we [Isabelle Mandraud and Caroline Monnot] posed in writing to Julien Coupat. Placed under investigation on 15 November 2008 for "terrorism," along with eight other people interrogated in Tarnac (Correze) and Paris, he is suspected of having sabotaged the suspended electrical cables of the SNCF. He is the last one still incarcerated. (He has asked that certain words be in italics.) Q. How are you spending your time?
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