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Jaan Karl Laaman Locked in Solitary Confinement

August 11, 2004

from Democracy Uprising! A 258-mile march traveling from the Democratic National Convention to the Republican National Convention (www.dnc2rnc.org)

corrected as of 08/03/04)

The DNC2RNC March passed by the walls of the MCI Walpole Maximum Security prison, in Walpole, MA. Street theater was performed concerning the injustices of the prison-industrial complex (immigration, women’s rights, political prisoners, eco-terrorism, the drug war, police brutality…) and also the duality of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The DNC2RNC march does not officially support prisoner Jaan Karl Laaman (who, among other actions, was convicted for the bombings of many corporate and government buildings in solidarity with the South African anti-apartheid movement), due to the objections of some marchers. However, the majority of marchers remained at the prison to read statements from the political prisoner and the Ohio 7, as well as a list of demands to the Superintendent of the Walpole prison and Attorney General John Ashcroft concerning the prison system.

Statement from Jaan Karl Laaman

End The War!!! Push Back The Police State!!!

Let me salute you all for being out here today. It is so important that we show the country and the world that many people in the u.s. hate this war and the corresponding domestic police state that is getting stronger and taking ever more human and civil rights away from the public.

The Democrats came to Boston with their nomination show and in the process made parts of the city look like maximum-security prison yards. Their so called free speech zone with its multiple fences and razor wire, looks similar to the recreation pen area of Walpole’s segregation unit. Just for wanting to use the subway, people and their bags are being searched, name and identification are demanded. The prisoners behind these Walpole walls are subjected to very similar policies. America is being taken into a war and turned into a police state like never before. We must oppose and resist it.

Within actual prisons, things are getting worse too. Even the official governors commission that recently investigated the Massachusetts Department of Corrections found serious problems, especially in the classification and disciplinary process. There are virtually no education or training programs in Walpole, not even AA or drug counselling.

As a political prisoner, I’ve been repeatedly denied transfers and kept in a very locked down section of the prison for the past 14 months. My lovely girlfriend, the woman who helps me stay in touch with the world, has been barred from visiting me.

Needless to say, I would so Love to be on your side of these walls, so I could join you in your journey to New York City and the Republican National Convention. I am speaking for all Political Prisoners when I say raise your voices even louder when you go to New York to oppose Bush, his wars and police state. And when you are marching, chanting, we ask you to carry our voices and hopes out there with you.

Freedom is a constant struggle…
Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner Jaan Karl Laaman.

Statement from the Ohio 7

Anti-Imperialist political prisoner, Jaan, was thrown in isolation on Friday afternoon, July 30th, because the institution got wind of this demonstration, and of his statement supporting it. Jaan knew this might happen. It should be noted that, regardless of the consequences, Jaan continues to choose to stand up for what is right. He continues to exemplify how we should all act. He called for more sacrifice unto himself by standing on his principles. And we so respect and admire him for that.

Our full support goes out to you marchers and good weather, healing sustenance and bold spirits to you.

Peace,
Mercedes Scott, Kazi Toure, and the members of the Ohio 7

List of Demands

Jaan Karl Laaman has been held as a political prisoner for nearly twenty years for being a member of an anti-apartheid group that took direct action against an oppressive system. While in prison he has faced severe repression for expressing his political views and for corresponding with supporters on the outside. Laaman was placed into solitary confinement for writing a letter to the DNC2RNC March, a non-violent group marching from the Democratic National Convention in Boston to the Republican National Convention in New York City to support direct democracy. He has been refused visiting rights with his girlfriend for fourteen months. We the undersigned issue the following list of demands to the Warden of Walpole State Prison and Attorney General John Ashcroft:

1. End the de facto racial segregation of American prisons.

2. Freedom to express political views without fear of repression.

3. Freedom to organize prison unions and to bargain collectively.

4. An end to all physical and mental abuse against prisoners.

5. An end to the privatization of prisons and the resultant corporate exploitation.

6. Implementation of rehabilitative and restorative justice programs in place of counterproductive incarceration.

7. An end to prison control units and other cruel and unusual punishment.

8. Direct community involvement in the punitive decision-making process.

9. Freedom for Jaan Karl Laaman to express his political views without fear of reprisal.

10. Access to Jaan Karl Laaman for his loved ones.

11. Release from solitary confinement.

12. Immediate release of Jaan Karl Laaman and all political prisoners.

Please e-mail, write or call:

David Nolan – Superintendent
P.O. Box 100
South Walpole, MA 02071
Phone: (508) 660-8000

John Ashcroft – Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

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