Silenced prisoner leader demands conduct report repeal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Silenced prisoner leader demands conduct report repeal

Contact: Ben Turk
614-704-4699

LucasvilleAmnesty.org
Sept. 13th 2018

YOUNGSTOWN OH – Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a revolutionary organizer and outspoken advocate of the national prisoner rights movement has appealed the Ohio Department of Correction (ODRC) decision that restricted him from communication access for a year of more leading up to the August 21- September 9 nationwide prison strike.

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.

####

Shadowproof: Ohio Prisoners begin Hunger Strike following punishment for appearing on Netflix show, “Captive”

This comes from Shadowproof written by Brian Sonenstein, March 3rd, 2017:

On February 27, Ohio prisoners Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Jason Robb began a hunger strike after officials at the Ohio State Penitentiary suspended their phone and email access for 90 days. Prison officials accused the men of accepting compensation to appear without authorization on an episode of the Netflix show, “Captive.”

The episode covered the 1993 prison riot known as the Lucasville Uprising. Hasan and Robb, who argue their role in the rebellion was to negotiate a peaceful ending, were pegged as two of its leaders. They were sentenced to death for the killing of a corrections officer.

Read the rest here.


You can write to Hasan and Jason to show them your support, not via Jpay, but via mail. If they get enough mail, this will also give the prison a message…

Jason Robb #308-919
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Carlos Sanders) # R 130-559
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 44505

ACLU Case: We filed this suit because the ODRC is violating the First Amendment rights of the prisoners and of the press

Lucasville Disturbance wrongfully convicted prisoners gathered to discuss the ACLU Lawsuit, 2014

Lucasville Disturbance wrongfully convicted prisoners gathered to discuss the ACLU Lawsuit, 2014

From Greg Curry’s site and ACLU Ohio:

This is about the ACLU Media-access case, in which Greg Curry also is a plaintiff, from the ACLU Ohio website:

21 years after the Lucasville prison uprising, the media is still waiting for face-to-face interviews with the condemned prisoners.

For more than two decades, Siddique Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes, Keith LaMar and Greg Curry have claimed they are innocent of the crimes attributed to them during the 1993 prison uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).

Among other things, these five men accuse the state of coercing false testimony from other SOCF prisoners in order to convict them. They have spent years in solitary confinement, soliciting media attention in an attempt to convince the public—and ultimately the court system—that they do not belong where they are.

In response, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) has completely banned face-to-face media contact with these men, arguing that they are too much of a security risk to be allowed to tell their stories in person.

In late 2013, the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit challenging this ban. The suit was filed on behalf of Hasan, Robb, Skatzes, LaMar and Curry, as well as one teacher and four reporters, including Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges.

We filed this suit because the ODRC is violating the First Amendment rights of the prisoners and of the press. It’s not hard to see that their actions have very little to do with security and everything to do with silencing an uncomfortable conversation about the Lucasville uprising.

For proof, consider that many other death row inmates in Ohio have been granted face-to-face access to the media. They include spree killer John Fautenberry, neo-Nazi murderer Frank Spisak, and convicted arsonist Kenneth Richey, who has since been released from death row.

In all, Ohio prison officials have approved nearly two dozen media interviews with other death row inmates while denying each and every request for face-to-face interviews with the five Lucasville prisoners. This ban is a special form of extended vengeance, reserved only for them.

These prisoners are complicated characters, and the Lucasville uprising is a complex story.

Hiding these complexities behind a wall of censorship will not make them go away.
The Basics

21 years ago, on Easter Sunday 1993, more than 400 inmates at an overcrowded prison in Lucasville, Ohio staged an 11-day prison uprising. In the ensuing violence, nine inmates and one corrections officer lost their lives.

The Basics – read more here.