[News] NYC Assata Press Conference

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Thu May 26 08:47:25 EDT 2005

Black Star reunited?


Thursday - May 26, 2005

Verbal Walker

On Wednesday most people thought that when Mos Def and Talib Kweli were to 
link up that it would be for the long awaited Black Star album. But this 
was for a cause far more important.

The two emcees got together with singer Martin Luther at City Hall to raise 
awareness about exiled political activist Assata Shakur. Together, with 
City Councilman Charles Barron, they joined forces to demand that the 
government drop the $1 million bounty that was placed on the 57 year old 
woman's head and remove Shakur from the domestic terrorist watch list.

For those who don't know, Assata was a former member of the Black Panther 
Party who ended up involved in the 1973 shootout that left a state trooper 
and a Black Panther killed. Assata and Sundiata Acoli were convicted of 
both murders. Even though there wasn't any substantial evidence to convict 
either of the crime (no gun residue, injuries inflected that would render 
her incapable of firing a gun) she was sentenced to a maximum-security 
prison. She escaped in 1979 and found political asylum in Cuba. The bounty 
was originally $150,000 but has been significantly raised to $1 million 
this past May.

"It's long overdue for her to receive clemency and come home," Barron said 
according to MTV. "I'm infuriated that a bounty has been put on her, 
placing her life in danger. She is a hero to our community."

"It seems the government wants to rally people behind causes that don't 
really have any merit. Assata is not a threat. She is someone who was 
falsely accused and has political asylum. They've put this new bounty on 
her head, and it's a shameful example of the government taking advantage of 
its position and trying to police the world." says Talib Kweli

"People can believe what they want, but the truth is what it is," says Mos 
Def, who is working on his upcoming album The Undeniable Free Flaco. "And 
the facts surrounding her case are indisputable and well-known. People 
should be more aware of what's going on with her case and the true 
motivation behind her persecution. It's a very dangerous time for all 
Americans when any voice of dissent is this hotly hunted down, and when 
anyone's life is reduced to 125 pounds of money and they're trying to stand 
up for us and our people. Everybody needs to be concerned."

N.Y. Politicians, Black Activists Rally in Support of Assata Shakur


Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
H. Cottman

Several members of the New York City Council and black community activists 
assembled on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan Wednesday to condemn the 
federal government's $1 million bounty on Black Liberation Army member 
Joanne Chesimard, who is now known as Assata Shakur, and living in Cuba.

"The bounty is absurd," Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), who 
initiated the press conference,  told BlackAmericaWeb.com Wednesday. "It's 
a license to kill."

Authorities earlier this month increased the bounty on Shakur's head from 
$150,000 to $1 million. Law enforcement officials say they hope the large 
reward will now encourage someone to come forward with information that 
will lead to Shakur's arrest.

Shakur, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted of 
fatally shooting a New Jersey state trooper 32 years ago. Authorities also 
added Shakur to the FBI's domestic terrorist list, where Osama Bin Laden's 
name also appears.

In 1979, Shakur escaped from a women's prison in Hunterdon County after she 
was convicted of the 1973 slaying of Trooper Werner Foerster. She made her 
way to Cuba and was granted political asylum. New Jersey officials have 
failed to persuade Cuba to extradite the 57-year-old Shakur.


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