[Pnews] Supporters Trying to Free 84-Year-Old Sundiata Acoli from Prison

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Mar 27 19:04:49 EDT 2021


  Supporters Trying to Free 84-Year-Old Sundiata Acoli from Prison

March 26, 2021

*A former employee of NASA and a civil rights era Freedom Rider 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Riders>, Sundiata Acoli 
<http://www.sundiataacoli.org/about> turned 84 on January 14. The 
college graduate and grandfather of two has been incarcerated for over 
forty-seven years.

Acoli has been consistently denied parole for more than twenty-five of 
those years, going all the way back to 1994.

Following his conviction in the murder of New Jersey State Trooper 
Werner Foerester in 1973, Acoli was sentenced to life. In the Garden 
State, those convicted and sentenced to life are eligible for parole 
after twenty-five years.

“Sundiata Acoli has had a near perfect disciplinary record for 40 years, 
with no violations of any kind for the past twenty-five years,” 
explained Acoli’s attorney, Bruce I. Afran 
<https://law.rutgers.edu/directory/view/13826>. “I have come to know Mr. 
Acoli well over the past nine years. He has emerged into a useful, law 
abiding and productive member of the community, albeit while 
incarcerated. He has evolved so far in his life and thought that he has 
been approved to teach the Federal Bureau of Prisons’s course in 
Avoiding Criminal Thinking, the program to teach younger inmates how to 
avoid recidivism.”

Sundiata’s health is deteriorating in his late stage of life and is now 
being treated for advancing dementia, cardiovascular disease, 
hypertension, emphysema and glaucoma. The frail senior citizen also lost 
30 pounds during a long battle with the Covid-19 virus; he was one of 
those blessed to survive the health scare. He should be released before 
his health is further compromised.

Nearly fifty religious leaders across New Jersey said the following in a 
joint statement to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy 
<https://nj.gov/governor/contact/all/> last June when asking for a 
commutation of Acoli’s sentence:

“Mr. Acoli had to be rushed to a hospital in Maryland when he fell ill 
from the COVID19 virus. For several days he was maintained on oxygen,” 
said the group of faith leaders across multiple denominations and 
thirty-nine religious institutions. “Recently, he was bedridden for a 
week due to intestinal complications. For all of the reasons stated 
above, we unconditionally call upon you to release Mr. Acoli from prison 
immediately. When he is released, we pledge to support you and champion 
your just and humane decision,” the statement concluded.

“As his daughter, I can say that the Bring Sundiata Acoli Home Alliance 
(BSAHA) means so much to me and our entire family,” said Sunni 
Middleton, an executive in finance. “The death of officer Foerester was 
a tragic event and we grieve for that loss and pray for the healing of 
all families involved. My dad is in his twilight years and he has paid 
for that terrible incident while showing us how to be accountable for 
one's actions.

"Our family is so grateful for this outpouring of support from members 
of the community and the Freedom Campaign,” added Middleton. “It gives 
us the strength, and faith, to see this through and to know that our 
prayers may one day be answered and my father will be in his family’s 
care to live out the remaining years of his life.”

The #BringSundiataHome campaign kicked off in mid-January and will last 
until Sundiata is home with his family to live out his final years.

For more information visit the campaign website 
<https://sundiataacolifc.org/> or Facebook page 

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