Tag Archives | Political Prisoners

Russian Amnesty Law Set to Free Arctic 30 Protesters and Pussy Riot Members

sunrise

Pic: Salvatore Barbera (CC)

Shaun Walker and James Meikle write at the Guardian:

The Greenpeace “Arctic 30″ could be home by Christmas, and the two jailed members of the punk group Pussy Riot should be released from jail in the coming days, after a wide-ranging amnesty law was passed by the Russian parliament on Wednesday.

The Pussy Riot pair are serving a two-year sentence for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, while the Greenpeace activists are charged with hooliganism and are currently on bail awaiting trial in St Petersburg.

The amnesty, backed by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution. It mainly concerns first-time offenders, minors and women with small children.

An amendment on Wednesday extended the amnesty to suspects in cases of hooliganism, which includes the Arctic 30, who were arrested aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in September.

They were bailed by courts in St Petersburg last month but still faced trial and potential jail sentences of up to seven years.

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Guantanamo-Style Force Feeding Occurs In U.S. Prisons Every Day

force feedingVia Common Dreams, Ann Neumann on barbaric force feeding occurring onshore and offshore against prisoners who see hunger striking as their last available method of protest:

I know a hunger-striking prisoner who hasn’t eaten solid food in more than five years. He is being force-fed by the medical staff where he’s incarcerated. Starving himself, he told me last year, is the only way he has to exercise his first amendment rights and to protest his conviction.

The fact that force feedings are being discussed in the context of Guantánamo obscures the routine use of feeding tubes in American prisons. Other recent feeding tube cases have taken place in Washington state, Utah, Illinois and Wisconsin. No sweeping study of force-feeding has been done, so statistics on usage don’t exist. Only three states have laws against force-feeding prisoners: Florida, Georgia and California, where a hunger strike in 2011 at a facility in Pelican Bay effectively caused a court examination of prison conditions.

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A Visit To The NATO Five

Outside a court hearing for the NATO 5

Rachel Allshiny writes at Occupied Stories:

Chicago, IL–For someone who’s never been arrested, I sure spend a lot of time at Cook County Jail lately.

As part of Occupy Chicago’s ongoing jail solidarity effort for the NATO 5, who are facing terrorism charges, I have been attending as many court dates as my schedule allows.  Most of these court dates are just for updates, or to set new court dates, but being there is an important show of support.  At the first few I attended we pushed our luck a bit by standing and raising fists in solidarity, so much so that the judge has taken to reading a decorum order before calling any of their cases.  He claims it’s not really aimed at us, just meant as a point of information for “people who only know about court from TV,” but since it uses words like “conduct of solidarity” and “protest,” I tend to take it personally.… Read the rest

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Ecuador To Decide Whether To Grant Political Asylum To Julian Assange

Julian Assange has spent the past two days hidden inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with British authorities poised to arrest him the moment he steps out. Ecuador’s president may grant him refuge in South America, out of concern that Assange may be extradited to the United States and put to death. How will it all end?? Via the BBC:

Ecuador is examining the asylum case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s president has said. Mr Assange is at the country’s London embassy, where he is seeking diplomatic asylum to prevent him being sent to Sweden to answer accusations of rape and assault, which he denies. Ecuador’s government has said it will make a decision on Mr Assange shortly.

Mr Assange, 40, spent a second night at the embassy on Wednesday. Mr Assange fears if he is sent to Sweden it could lead to him being sent to the United States to face charges over Wikileaks, for which he could face the death penalty.

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Ikea Used Political Prisoners As Slave Labor

Photo: Alexander Kaiser (CC)

Photo: Alexander Kaiser (CC)

Like many global companies mass producing goods, Ikea has a past of unjust labor. The Telegraph reports:

Ikea developed strong links with the communist state in the 1970s, opening a number of manufacturing facilities, one of which, according to Stasi records discovered by German television company WDR, used political prisoners to construct sofas.

The factory in Waldheim stood next to a prison, and inmates were used as unpaid labour, it is claimed. Gaols in the Democratic Republic housed significant numbers of political prisoners, with some estimates indicating they made up at least 20 per cent of the entire prison population.

Quoted in a Stasi file, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s founder, said while he had no official knowledge of the use of prison labour, if it did indeed exist “in the opinion of Ikea it would be in society’s interests.”

[Continues at The Telegraph]… Read the rest

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