Contact: Ben Turk
In his appeal Imam Hasan states: “The fabricated charges in my conduct report, the procedural errors in my SMP [Serious Misconduct Panel] hearing, and the dirty games played by all parties involved are so egregious and a violation of my due process rights… that not even returning my case to a new SMP for a rehearing will cure and correct the violations of applicable procedures and the vindictiveness shown toward my person.”
The most serious of the four rules violations contained in Hasan’s conduct report of July 27 were “Rioting, or encouraging others to riot” and “Engaging in or encouraging a group demonstration or work stoppage” these charges are based primarily on an outside supporter mailing him an endorsement of the strike written by the Fire Inside collective.
Imam Hasan did not request or receive the document because it was intercepted by mailroom staff, yet the SMP convicted him, adding on a fifth ad hoc violation during the SMP: “Violation of other policy… Inmate Sanders is also acting as a leader and spokesperson.”
ODRC Bureau of Classification Chief Brian Wittrup is the charging official in Hasan’s conduct report, and also the ultimate authority deciding Hasan’s fate. To rectify this clear due process conflict, Wittrup stated that he “did not wish to have input into the disciplinary proceedings.” At the actual hearing though, he responded to and critiqued Hasan’s testimony repeatedly and without request from the panel, in violation of ODRC policy.
Other due process violations included providing the SMP with evidence not contained in the conduct report and not available for Hasan’s review prior to the hearing as well as blocking Hasan’s witnesses from testifying at the hearing citing “relevancy, unavailability and security reasons”.
“I was named in the conduct report,” said Ben Turk, who sent Hasan the offending material, “so I’m relevant. I called both the prison and central office to ask when or how I would be allowed to testify, so I was available. They must think merely letting me speak to the panel on the phone would compromise their security.”
Hasan’s appeal, and the conduct report are available online at IncarceratedWorkers.org and LucasvilleAmnesty.org. Since the conduct report on July 27, Hasan has had his phone and email access blocked, his property severely restricted, and his cell door barricaded to prevent other prisoners from communicating with him through it.
The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) has organized a phone zap to the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) on Thursday September 13 to demand reprieve of these restrictions.
The ODRC has until September 27 to reply to Hasan’s appeal. Supporters hope that Wittrup will be satisfied with having silenced Hasan during the nationwide strike and will not try to defend and uphold this sloppy, violation-ridden SMP decision.
“If not, we’re looking into a civil lawsuit, because this is a clear infringement on both Hasan and my first amendment rights,” Turk stated.
According to a recent statement by Greg Curry, a friend of Hasan’s also held at OSP, the repression against Hasan and others actually sparked a work stoppage in late July and at least one block of prisoners maintained a commissary boycott throughout the period of the strike.