[Ppnews] URGENT - support parole for Oscar Lopez Rivera - Commission to rule Feb. 1!

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 27 10:14:02 EST 2011

Dear Friends,

Oscar's attorney has received word that the 
Parole Commission is going to rule very soon -- 
February 1 or so -- much sooner than we had 
anticipated. It is therefore URGENT that we step 
up our calls, letters, and faxes. We are asking 
his supporters to call as often as you can, up to 
EVERY DAY if possible. This will probably not 
continue for more than a week or two (but please 
continue until a decision has been made)!

We know that  the Parole Commission is frequently 
(not always) blocking our calls with a 
computerized screen that just tells people to 
send in their responses in writing.

*If you get the screen response, please dial "0" which will take you
to a live receptionist.
*When you talk to the receptionist, please be polite, but firm. They
are giving us very little time to speak, so it is 
important to say that you are "supporting" Oscar, 
not just "calling about" him, in your first

For example, say "Hi, I am calling in support of the release of Oscar
López Rivera."

Even though they will probably not agree to log 
your call, and they will probably tell you that 
your comments have to be in writing, it is important for us to call in.

And of course -- fax or mail in your letter, too!

The written letter and longer version of the 
script is included here, with additional things 
you can say if you are given the chance!

Thank you so much for your support!

US Parole Board phone:

(301) 492-5990

Hi, my name is ______________ and I live in
Cleveland [Chicago, etc.] The Parole Commission should
parole Oscar López # 87651-024 immediately, in
spite of the hearing examiner’s recommendation
to deny parole.


1) Oscar has the support of a broad sector of Puerto
Rico’s civil society as well as Puerto Rican and Latino
communities throughout the United States.

2) Oscar was not accused or convicted of causing
injury or taking a life. He was never accused or con-
victed of participating in the 1975 Fraunces Tavern
bombing or any other action that resulted in injury
or death.

3) President Clinton’s determination that Mr. López
Rivera’s sentence was disproportionately lengthy, and
his offer that would have resulted in Mr. López Ri-
vera’s release in September of 2009.

On Wednesday, January 5, after a remarkably biased and tainted parole
hearing, U.S. Parole Commission hearing examiner Mark Tanner announced
he would recommend that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López
Rivera be denied parole, and that he either be held in prison until
his mandatory release date in 2023 or serve another 15 years before
being reconsidered for parole, whichever comes first.

        Oscar was brought to the hearing handcuffed to a chain around his
waist. His attorney Jan Susler’s protestations were overruled, with
prison staff asserting the warden had ordered the highly unusual
measure. Eight Bureau of Prisons personnel constituted an exaggerated
and intentionally intimidating presence.

        Over the vehement objection of Oscar’s attorney, Tanner entertained
live testimony from four people he characterized as “victims” — a
wounded survivor and family members of people who died in the 1975
explosion in New York’s Fraunces Tavern — even though Oscar was never
accused or convicted of anything related to the explosion.

        Susler, noting that the Puerto Rico Bar Association had petitioned
for observer status at the hearing, but that the Parole Commission
failed to respond to the request of that venerable institution,
vehemently objected to the observer status of retired FBI agent Donald
Wofford. Tanner overruled her objections.

        Tanner provided Susler a 7 page letter from Chicago U.S. Attorney
Patrick Fitzgerald, a political diatribe opposing parole, listing acts
unrelated to Oscar and unsupported conclusions about his role in the
clandestine movement.

        Tanner first interrogated Oscar about his role in the offense,
insisting that he admit or deny his guilt and, further, that he talk
about his role in the FALN, the seditious conspiracy, and the
conspiracy to escape. Insisting that Oscar was a leader, Tanner was
not interested in Oscar’s recounting of his own history of having been
drafted into the infantry to fight an unjust U.S. war against the
people of Vietnam. He was equally uninterested in Oscar’s recounting
of the history of repression of and violence against the independence
movement, as well as the history of the Bureau of Prisons’ sting
operations and false accusations against him.

        Tanner demonstrated more interest in what the “victims” had to say,
and paid close attention to their misinformed vitriol and name-calling
spewed against Oscar.

        Susler attempted to bring Tanner’s attention to the matter at hand,
reciting the criteria for release on parole and demonstrating how the
evidence proved that Oscar meets the criteria:
1) that in the past 20 years of prison, he has not been accused of a
violating a single prison rule;
2) that his release would not depreciate the seriousness of the
offense or promote disrespect for the law; and 3) that release would
not jeopardize the public welfare.

        She pointed out President Clinton’s determination in 1999 that
Oscar’s sentence was disproportionately lengthy and that his offer of
clemency would have resulted in Oscar’s release in September of 2009.
She focused Tanner on the fact that the political prisoners released
as a result of the Clinton clemency are productive citizens, fully
integrated into civil society. She noted the Parole Commission’s
decision to release Carlos Alberto Torres in July of 2010. And she
recited in detail the support for his release from virtually the
entire civil society in Puerto Rico, drawing Tanner’s attention not
only to the support letters from thousands of people, but noting the
support from the pro-statehood resident commissioner to the U.S.
Congress who represents the close to 4 million people of Puerto Rico.

        Oscar’s statements and those of his lawyer fell on deaf ears. While
Tanner admitted that Oscar had the best possible Salient Factor score,
and that he had served 356 months, which he characterized as “way
beyond” the guidelines minimum requirement of 100 months, he
nevertheless announced his negative recommendation. Susler immediately
responded that such a recommendation ignored the express will of the
Puerto Rican people and their supporters.

        The recommendation denying parole was the goal of the right wing,
which in the few days prior to the parole hearing, created an
environment of lies and innuendos in the media, reminiscent of the
right wing reaction to the 1999 clemency. They barraged the Parole
Commission with phone calls opposing parole. However, when Oscar’s
supporters called, the Commission stopped answering the phones.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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