[Ppnews] Whatever happened to... Jamil Al-Amin in 'Supermax'

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 22 11:26:32 EDT 2007

Convicted murderer Al-Amin in 'Supermax'

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/21/07

Early one morning this summer at a southeast 
Georgia prison, guards told Jamil Abdullah 
Al-Amin to pack up and get ready to leave.

Al-Amin, the former 1960s militant once named H. 
Rap Brown now serving a life sentence for killing 
a sheriff's deputy, was soon on a cross-country 
journey to where he now resides: Supermax, the 
nation's most secure prison in Florence, Colo.

The federal prison is said to be reserved for the 
worst of the worst. It also houses Centennial 
Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, Oklahoma City 
bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols and al-Qaida 
terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. All are locked in 
solitary confinement inside their cells and 
allowed outside only one hour a day.

Al-Amin's lawyers say the transfer was 
undeserved. "Neither the state nor the feds are 
talking to us about the sudden snatching of Mr. 
Al-Amin into the most draconian conditions of 
confinement in the United States," Atlanta lawyer Linda Sheffield said.

In August, the Department of Corrections 
disclosed Al-Amin was being transferred to 
federal custody from Georgia State Prison in 
Reidsville, but it did not reveal he was moved 
more than 1,500 miles away to Supermax. The 
department said Al-Amin was a "high-profile" 
inmate and supervision of him in Reidsville was 
beyond what the prison could provide.

Last week, corrections spokesman Paul Czachowski 
declined to give the reasons for Al-Amin's 
transfer. "For security reasons, I can't comment," he said.

A. Stephens Clay, one of Al-Amin's lawyers, said 
that during a recent phone conversation, Al-Amin 
was calm, thoughtful and attentive.

"But I don't see that he has done anything to 
warrant this treatment," said Clay, who 
represents Al-Amin in a case against the state 
prison system. "There's nothing in this man's 
history as a prisoner that indicates he should be 
more severely punished than other prisoners, but that's what's happening."

In March 2005, Al-Amin filed a handwritten 
lawsuit alleging that mail from his wife, who is 
an attorney, was improperly opened by prison 
officials. A federal judge in Statesboro ruled in 
Al-Amin's favor on this claim. The state appealed 
to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 
Atlanta, which then appointed Clay to represent Al-Amin.

Separately, Al-Amin is challenging his conviction 
through a civil lawsuit filed in Tattnall County, 
home to the state prison in Reidsville. In this 
case, for the first time, Al-Amin took the 
witness stand and denied having anything to do 
with the shooting of Fulton County sheriff's 
deputies Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English.

On March 16, 2000, Kinchen and English went to 
Al-Amin's home in Atlanta's West End to serve him 
an arrest warrant for missing a court date. 
According to testimony, Al-Amin opened fire, 
killing Kinchen and wounding English, who later 
identified Al-Amin as the shooter.

Al-Amin was arrested in White Hall, Ala., four 
days after the shooting. Nearby, federal agents 
found Al-Amin's bullet-riddled Mercedes and two 
weapons that ballistics tests later tied to the West End shooting.

Fulton prosecutors sought the death penalty 
against Al-Amin, but a jury sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

During a court hearing in February, Al-Amin 
testified he did not fire the shots. He said on 
the day of the shootings he returned from eating 
with his family at Red Lobster, was late for 
prayers and headed to his mosque. On the way, he 
testified, he heard gunshots, ducked down low and then heard more shots.

Al-Amin testified he returned to his Mercedes and 
drove off, only to realize the car had been hit 
with bullets when the back window collapsed. This 
made him wonder if teenagers with whom he had a 
confrontation earlier in the day had come back 
looking for him, he said, adding that he got in 
his car and drove off. "I thought maybe it was 
some kind of retaliation," he testified. "I'm 
thinking...you know, really it was directed at me."

Instead of driving home, he said, he drove to 
Alabama, calling his wife on the way to say he 
was okay. He testified he found out the next day 
on television that Kinchen and English had been 
shot and also said he soon learned there were warrants out for his arrest.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said 
in a statement that Al-Amin is getting what he deserves.

"The crimes that he committed against deputies 
Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English will never be 
forgotten by this community," Howard said. "We 
believe his present incarceration is ­ at minimum 
­ appropriate for the harm he has caused."

"Whatever happened to ..." is a weekly feature 
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