[Ppnews] Warden's talk cancelled under Angola 3 supporters' pressure

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jun 6 19:09:08 EDT 2009

US prison warden's talk cancelled after threats


Published Date: 07 June 2009
By Jeremy Watson

A TALK by a leading figure from the US prison network to Scottish  
business leaders has been cancelled after heated protests were made to  
event organisers.
Burl Cain, warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary ? nicknamed "Angola"  
? was due to address the Winning Entrepreneurs business network in  
Edinburgh tomorrow night at Prestonfield House Hotel.

However, the event has been cancelled after a series of "aggressive"  
calls were made to Winning Entrepreneurs, while a flurry of protest  
e-mails were also sent to the organisers.

After consulting with police, the organisers decided to call off the  
event. The protest centred on treatment of the "Angola 3" prisoners  
under Cain's stewardship of the jail, which has attracted controversy  
and become a campaign focus for a number of rights groups.

The Angola 3 are three black prisoners linked to the murder of a white  
prison guard in 1972 and kept in solitary confinement for, in two of  
the cases, 36 years. While Robert Hillary King has now been released  
after his first conviction was overturned and he pleaded guilty to a  
lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder, Herman Wallace and  
Albert Woodfox remain in the jail.

Winning Entrepreneurs founder Belinda Roberts said: "We're very  
disappointed that this event has had to be cancelled ? especially as  
Warden Cain was speaking about leadership, not the US penal system.  
However, we have to put the safety of the warden, our members and the  
hotel staff ahead of any other concerns."

Her team has received phone calls from people speaking in English  
accents, "which they felt were aggressive in tone and which felt to  
them like veiled threats over this event. While some may have just  
been registering their displeasure at the idea of the warden speaking,  
we don't want to take any risks."

Members of Winning Entrepreneurs include IT and property magnate Shaf  
Rasul, Scotland's richest Asian entrepreneur and star of the online  
version of Dragon's Den, Mark McElney, chief executive and founder of  
No 1 Currency, Scotland's fastest growing company, and PJ Darling of  
Spark Energy.

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