[Ppnews] López Rivera serving longest [Puerto Rican ] political imprisonment in history
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 5 10:31:27 EST 2012
López Rivera serving longest political imprisonment in history
[many Black Liberation Movement political
prisoners are 30+ and 40+ years in prison]
January 5, 2012
BY MARIA MIRANDA Of The Daily Sun Staff
<mailto:mmiranda at prdailysun.net>mmiranda at prdailysun.net
Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist
who has been imprisoned for almost 30 years, and
who was denied parole last year, has become the
longest-incarcerated political prisoner in
history, the Bar Associations Human Rights
Committee announced Wednesday. Flanked by island
artists, politicians and citizens, the
committees president, Eduardo Villanueva, made
the announcement at Bar Association headquarters in Miramar.
The group charged that the U.S. governments
public policy has two sides when it comes to
requesting the liberation of political prisoners
in other countries but then they dont set
political prisoners from one of their territories free.
This is not a security issue, this is an
ideological issue, Toa Baja Mayor Aníbal Vega Borges said.
López Riveras daughter, Clarissa, recalled one
of the last times she visited her father in
prison, describing him as a man who has noticeably aged behind bars.
Its something normal for many people (watching
their father age, he will turn 69 on Three Kings
Day) but I have never had the opportunity to
spend time with him outside of prison
living in subhuman conditions. We spent 12 years
without visitation rights. I became a mother and
he was able to touch and hug my daughter when she
was eight years old, López said.
She added that journalists petitions to
interview him are always denied because they want to keep quiet.
López called on all her friends, and island
citizens to write President Obama and any other
public workers to help apply pressure for the political prisoners freedom.
Last February, the Puerto Rican nationalist who
has been imprisoned over 29 years, was denied
parole, the U.S. Parole Commission announced.
López Rivera, a member of Fuerzas Armadas de
Liberación Puertorriqueña (FALN), a
pro-independence group that claimed
responsibility for bombs set off in New York City
and Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s, was convicted
in 1981 for seditious conspiracy, among other
charges. López Rivera was sentenced to 70 years in prison.
The four-member panel decided that López Rivera,
68, who is serving time at the Federal
Correctional Institution in Terre Haute Ind., should remain incarcerated.
We have to look at whether release would
depreciate the seriousness of the offenses or
promote disrespect for the law, whether release
would jeopardize public safety, and the specific
characteristics of the offender, said Parole
Commission Chairman Isaac Fulwood Jr. in a written statement last February.
The decision comes after a January recommendation
by a hearing examiner to deny parole.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton offered clemency
to López and other members of the group. López
Rivera turned down the offer because it did not
include the release of two of his comrades.
He would have been freed in 2009 had he accepted
the offer. His sister, Zenaida López, said at the
time that he refused the clemency because parole
would have been prison outside prison.
López Rivera is a polarizing figure to his
supporters hes a political prisoner whos been
wrongly imprisoned while his opponents view him
as a terrorist with blood on his hands.
The FALN, according to authorities, was
responsible for dozens of bombings, including one
at the Fraunces Tavern in New York in 1975. That
bombing killed four people, including Frank Connor, a 33-year-old banker.
Connors son, Joseph, has done everything
possible to keep López in prison for allegedly killing his father.
López Rivera will likely have to wait until 2021
for a mandatory parole date for his next chance at freedom.
The U.S. Parole Commission denied him parole
because they claimed any clemency towards López
Rivera would lessen the severity of his crimes.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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