[Ppnews] Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz, September 4, 2013 Update/Action Alert

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 4 18:14:45 EDT 2013

*Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
September 4, 2013 Update/Action Alert*

Just 5 days after observing his 70th birthday, on August 28, 2013, 
former Black Panther
and political prisoner Russell 'Maroon' Shoatz was transferred to the 
State Correctional
Institution (SCI) at Frackville, a maximum security institution. He has 
once again been
immediately placed in a restricted housing unit (RHU): solitary 
confinement of twentythree-
hour-a-day lock down. Shoatz was not given a reason for the transfer.

The transfer came one week before Pennsylvania Department of 
Corrections' (PA DOC)
officials, including Secretary John Wetzel, must report to a federal 
judge on the progress
of Shoatz's release into the general population. DOC defendants in the 
case Shoatz v.
Wetzel have represented to the court on multiple occasions that they 
intend to release
Shoatz into the general population, but have so far failed to do so.

Coming on the heels of a weekend of events held around the country in 
honor of Shoatz's
birthday, the transfer highlights the refusal of the PA DOC to respond 
to a major
international campaign, launched in May 2012, to win the release of this 
senior citizen
into General Population. In a birthday message sent jointly to Shoatz 
and PA DOC
Secretary Wetzel, three Nobel Peace Prize recipients -- Archbishop 
Desmond Tutu of
South Africa, Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor and Mairead Corrigan 
Maguire of Ireland
-- demanded "in the strongest possible humanitarian terms" that "now is 
the time for the
immediate and unconditional release" of Shoatz.

Archbishop Tutu, a founder of the Elders group which includes Nelson 
Mandela and
former US President Jimmy Carter, and Ramos-Horta, former President of 
East Timor
and a Special Representative of the United Nations, have vowed that they 
will continue
to monitor the situation of Shoatz until his "unfair and unjust 
treatment" is alleviated. A
report of Shoatz's case has been formally filed with the office of the 
UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez.

Recognizing that the transfer to SCI Frackville represents an arbitrary 
and unjustifiable
delay of his release to population, forcing Shoatz to wait for another 
processing period in this new institution, NOW IS THE TIME TO RE-ACTIVATE

It is important to remember that on March 28, shortly before a team of 
lawyers filed a
suit against the PA DOC for violating Shoatz's constitutional rights by 
holding him in an
8 by 12-foot cell for over two decades, prison officials moved Shoatz 
from SCI Greene
(where he had spent a total of 18 years on lockdown) to SCI Mahanoy for 
the stated
purpose of ending his 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. That 
coincided with the first leg of a 16-city national tour of Maroon's 
recently published
book of essays, which has since been banned by the PA DOC.

Juan E. Mendez, who reports directly to the United Nations High 
Commission on
Human Rights, has repeatedly likened conditions in restricted housing 
units to torture,
and called for a moratorium on isolation exceeding 15 days. Yet Maroon 
has endured these
torturous conditions for almost half of his life, despite the fact that 
he has no disciplinary
problems in over 20 years.

We must unite to demand that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections 
end their
months of empty promises. It is up to us -- conscientious members of the 
public -- to
force the system to respect basic human rights standards and the strict 
prohibition on

We are now calling on YOU to help us in this Herculean endeavor to win 
justice for one
of Pennsylvania's nearly 52,000 prisoners. Pick up your pens and your 
phones and help
us bring an old man closer to his family!


Twenty-two consecutive years in solitary is more than long enough!
DEMAND that Maroon be placed in general population IMMEDIATELY!

Call/Write to:

PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel, 1920 Technology Parkway,
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050; Phone number: 717-728-4109; Fax: 717-728-4178

(Inmate number for Russell Shoatz -- AF3855)

Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz, freemaroonshoatz at gmail.com,
c/o WRL/Matt Meyer, 339 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10012; 412-654-9070
http://russellmaroonshoats.wordpress.com/ . #30Days2FreeMaroon . #FreeMaroon
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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