[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 Association’s Human Rights 
Committee announced Wednesday. Flanked by island 
artists, politicians and citizens, the 
committee’s president, Eduardo Villanueva, made 
the announcement at Bar Association headquarters in Miramar.

The group charged that the U.S. government’s 
public policy has “two sides” when it comes to 
requesting the liberation of political prisoners 
in other countries but then “they don’t 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 Rivera’s 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.

“It’s 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 journalist’s 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 prisoner’s 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 he’s a political prisoner who’s 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.

Connor’s 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.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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