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Dissed and Disrespected: Political Prisoners in the US

by Political Prisoner Ray Luc Levasseur
In 1985, the first of many trials began for seven long time activists and revolutionaries. Collectively known as the Ohio 7, the first group trial stemmed from resistance actions attributed to the UFF, including the bombings of U.S. military facilities. This trial resulted in numerous convictions. I was a defendant in both cases as was Richard Williams and Thomas Manning.

Between the earlier UFF trial and the Sedition case, there was a New Jersey state trial in which Tom and Richard were tried for the 1981 shooting death of a state trooper [who had] tried to kill him with his .357 Magnum. During the court proceedings it was determined that the trooper had fired a minimum of 6 shots; carried an unregistered, unlicensed "drop gun" concealed on his person, and was previously involved in shooting incidents.

Tom testified that Richard Williams was not present at the shooting.

At trial's conclusion, Tom Manning was convicted of felony murder. The jury failed to reach a verdict on Richard, with the majority for acquittal. A retrial 5 years later September 30, 1991, ended with Richard's conviction. A year earlier, a Special Tribunal on the violation of the human rights of political prisoners/POW's in U.S. prisons and jails was held in New York City. Hundreds of activists attended the event. The Tribunal drew numerous conclusions based on the evidence. Among these findings: U.S. prisons hold substantial numbers of political prisoner/POW's, including "white north american opponents of U.S. government policies." The Tribunal then issued the following call to actions--"It is of critical importance that the international human rights community as well as all freedom loving people to bring worldwide attention to the plight of U.S. political prisoners."

How is it that one year after the Tribunal's findings, the New Jersey trial of Richard Williams elicited no moral or political support from those who organized, sponsored, endorsed and attended this event? How did circumstances and attitudes evolve to the point of adding insult to injury by abandoning Richard Williams to a relentless attack by the State?

Nelson Mandela symbolizes antiapartheid resistance and the defiant spirit of political prisoners. Disturbing, that at no time prior, during, or after did anyone acknowledge the reality of U.S. political prisoners in prison for years, and still in prison today, for anti-apartheid actions. Few prisoners, including anti-imperialist prisoners, receive organizational support. This is not a criticism of the entire Left. Most of the Left doesn't even know we exist. Read More>>>
Ohio 7 Freedom Fighters | Letters From Exile | Jericho Movement newsletter on Political Prisoners | Index Of Politics/Arm the Spirit