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RELATED: UN statement on Albert Woodfox
(PHOTO: Herman Wallace after his release.)
Today, Amnesty International kicked off a new campaign in support of Albert Woodfox. The email action alert and a separate press release are both reprinted below, in full:
Herman died a free man. Let’s help Albert live as one.
Herman Wallace died nine days before his 72nd birthday. The famed ‘Angola 3′ prisoner succumbed to liver cancer on Friday, 3 days after being released from prison.
Herman survived more than 41 years of isolation, becoming a fierce activist calling for an end to the cruel, inhuman use of solitary confinement.
He died a free man, but the search for justice is far from over. The third member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, is STILL being held in solitary confinement.
Albert was placed in solitary after a 1972 murder that he maintains he did not commit. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Albert’s conviction has already been overturned three times — most recently by a federal district court — but the state obsessively appeals every time the court rules in his favor.
Before he died, Herman said this about Albert and their struggle for human rights:
“I want the world to know that I am an innocent man and that Albert Woodfox is innocent as well…The state may have stolen my life, but my spirit will continue to struggle along with Albert and the many comrades that have joined us along the way here in the belly of the beast.”
I never met Herman, and yet I will always remember him as larger-than-life — a symbol of resistance to human rights abuses and injustice who refused to be silenced. More than 110,000 people like you rose up to free him — Now it’s time to shine the light for Albert — take action.
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA
(End of email alert. The Oct. 10 Amnesty USA press release begins.)
Louisiana Must End Campaign of ‘Vengeance’ Against Remaining Angola 3 Prisoner Albert Woodfox
(NEW YORK) – Following the death of Herman Wallace, who was held in solitary confinement for nearly 40 years, Amnesty International today launches a campaign demanding the release of his co-defendant Albert Woodfox, who also has been held in cruel conditions of isolation following a deeply flawed trial.
‘Enough is enough,’ said Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International USA executive director. ‘Nothing can justify the cruel treatment that the state of Louisiana has inflicted on Albert Woodfox. It’s simply unconscionable for the state to hold him one day longer. His trial was flawed and his conviction has been overturned three separate times. Authorities must let the most recent court ruling stand and release Woodfox from prison. At this point, Louisiana officials seem to be out for vengeance; instead, we call on them to act in the interest of justice and see that he is released.’
Woodfox and Wallace were both convicted of the 1972 murder of prison guard Brent Miller. There was no physical evidence to link them to the crime and their convictions relied primarily on the dubious testimony of a sole eyewitness who received favorable treatment in return for his testimony.
Both men have robustly denied any involvement in the crime. They believe they were falsely implicated in the murder because of their political activism in prison as members of the Black Panther Party.
Earlier this year a federal judge overturned the conviction. However, Woodfox continues to languish in prison after the state of Louisiana appealed against his release.
During a legal process that has spanned four decades, Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned three times.
‘Were it not for the state of Louisiana’s dogged determination to appeal against these rulings, Woodfox would almost certainly be a free man by now,’ said Tessa Murphy, an Amnesty campaigner.
Wallace was released last week just days before he died of liver cancer. A federal judge who overturned his conviction said it would hold the state in contempt of court if it attempted to appeal the case.
For most of the last four decades, Woodfox has been confined to a small cell for 23 hours a day, denied access to meaningful human interaction and rehabilitation.
Prison records show that Albert has not committed any serious disciplinary infractions for years and that he doesn’t pose a threat to himself or others.
Take action: Demand the release of Albert Woodfox.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.