[Ppnews] Hugo Pinell's Jan 17 Parole Hearing

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 5 10:52:16 EST 2009



Yogi Bear, 1982

Yogi Bear, 2001

Kiilu Nyasha interview with Hans Bennett

Political Prisoner Hugo Pinell To Have Parole Hearing on January 17

--Kiilu Nyasha, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Dan Berger call for support

by Hans Bennett
January 4, 2009

Earlier in 2008, I interviewed San Francisco journalist and former 
Black Panther <http://www.myspace.com/official_kiilu>Kiilu Nyasha 
about political prisoner <http://www.hugopinell.org/index.htm>Hugo 
Pinell, the only one of the San Quentin Six that is still in prison 
<http://www.abu-jamal-news.com/docs/kiiluyogi.mp3>(Listen to the 
interview here). This audio interview complements 
<http://www.hugopinell.org/a-freedom-fighter-to-board.htm>the essay 
Nyasha wrote previously in 2004.

Today, in an email interview, Nyasha told me that "Hugo L. A. Pinell, 
nicknamed 'Yogi Bear,' will go to Board again on January 17, 2009. 
His last Board appearance was November 14, 2006 when he was denied 
two years, despite having no rule infractions for 24 years. Make that 
nearly 27 years clean time now. One of George Jackson's closest 
comrades, Yogi has now been incarcerated in California prisons for 
almost 45 years, nearly 39 in solitary confinement, the last 19 in 
the Pelican Bay SHU (Security Housing Unit, or 24/7 lockup). The fact 
that he is still in great physical shape and hasn't lost his mind 
under such prolonged, tortuous conditions is testimony to his amazing 
spiritual and physical strength. Please write a letter to the Parole 
Board in support of Yogi's release -- at least to a mainline facility 
near San Francisco so his mother, 85, and other family/friends can 
have contact visits, and he can see the sun again."

As featured in the 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEtzTSH4Mrw>embedded video above, on 
January 2, I interviewed Philadelphia-based activist and author 
<http://www.danberger.org/>Dan Berger, who is featured in the new 
book <https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=60>Let 
Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free US 
Political Prisoners. This segment about Hugo Pinell is part of a 
longer interview with Berger that will be released in the coming months.

Below is an article written by death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal 
from 2006, the last time Pinell was eligible for parole 
<http://prisonradio.org/YogiHugoPinnellMumia.htm>(Listen to the 
radio-essay here).

You can also, <http://prisonradio.org/HugoYogiPinnell.htm>listen to 
the audio and read the transcript from the June 15, 2006 KPOO Prison 
Focus discussion about Pinell with Luis Bato Talmante, Nedzada 
[Handukic], Kiilu Nyasha, and Gordon Kaupp.

For more information, go to 
<http://www.hugopinell.org/>www.hugopinell.org. Letters can be sent to:

California Board of Parole Hearings
P.O. Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036
ATTN: Robert Doyle - Chairman
Ref: Hugo L. A. Pinell - #A88401


[Col. Writ. 7/30/06] Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Few of us know the name, Hugo Pinell.

That's because the last time it was in the newspapers was probably in 
1971, or 1976, when he was tried as a member of the famous San 
Quentin Six, six young Black prisoners facing assault charges 
stemming from battles with prison guards at the notoriously 
repressive California prison.

Yet that wasn't the beginning, nor the end of things.

Hugo Pinell (known as 'Yogi' by his friends) came to the US as a 
12-year old, from a small town on Nicaragua's east coast. If he knew 
then the hell he would face in America, would he have left the land 
of his birth?

We'll never know.

He came. And he spent the last *42* years in prison -- 34 of them in 
solitary! He hasn't had a write-up in 24 years.

Now, his family and lawyer are seeking his parole after a lifetime in 
some of the most repressive joints in America.

Why so long? Why so many years? The answer, not surprisingly, is 
politics. Hugo was a student and comrade of the legendary Black 
Panther Field Marshall, the late George Jackson, with whom he worked 
to organize other Black prisoners against the racist violence and 
prison conditions of the '60s and '70s.

Consider this: when Hugo was sent to prison, Lyndon Baines Johnson 
was president, bombing in the Vietnam War was intensifying, and 
Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive!

Of his introduction to the prison system, Yogi would later write:

"In 1964, a white woman accused me of rape, assault and kidnap. I was 
19 years old. I turned myself into the authorities to clarify the 
charges against me which I knew to be falsified. The deputies beat me 
several times because the alleged victim was white, and the Public 
Defender and the Judge influenced my mother into believing that I 
would be sentenced to death unless I pled guilty. At their insistence 
and despite my innocence, I pled guilty to the charge of rape, with 
the understanding that I would be eligible for parole after 6 months. 
When I arrived at the California Department of Corrections, I was 
informed that I had been sentenced to three years to *life*."

California's notoriously unjust indeterminate sentencing has led, in 
part, to the present prison overcrowding that now threatens to 
bankrupt the system. California's prisons are roughly 172% over 
capacity, and parole is a broken, nonfunctional agency.

That's not just my opinion, but California's state senator, Gloria 
Romero (D.-Los Angeles) has called the present regime a "failure," 
particularly the parole system.

Despite California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2004 promises of 
major reforms of the parole system, which would lead to significant 
prisoner population reductions, the incarceration rate has soared. 
Today, there are a record 168,000 people in 33 state prisons, nearly 
double the rated capacity.

As Hugo Pinell seeks parole, California is spending $7.9 billion -- 
(yeah--with a 'b'!) in the next fiscal year, an increase of $600 
million a year for a prison system that has one of the worst 
recidivism rates in the nation (60%!).

Clearly, the so-called "Correctional and Rehabilitation" Department 
has failed in its mission to do both.

Support parole for Hugo Pinell. 42 years is more than enough.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Freedom Archives
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