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Feb 28, 22

In Contempt #14: Political Prisoner Updates; Hunger Strikes in New York, North Carolina and Bay Area

As always, we have a lot going on this month.

There are several major political prisoner updates – Eric King is set to go to trial in several weeks, Sundiata Acoli’s parole case has reached the New Jersey Supreme Court, and Doug Wright of the Cleveland 4 is set to be released to a halfway house. There are currently several hunger strikes happening both in the bay area and in New York as well as several ongoing phone-zap campaigns. Uprising defendant Montez Lee has been sentenced to 10 years and we also have lots of other updates, news, and birthdays for other prisoners and those facing repression.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right into it.

Political Prisoner News

Anarchist prisoner Eric King is headed for trial on March 14th. At time of writing, he’s still able to receive letters after the end of his year-and-a-half mail ban, and his support site has published a number of new poems throughout February, including “On the other side of the fence it grows,” “This Vile Institution,” “They say I’m no good,” and “Our Getaway.”

Antifascist prisoner Dan Baker has a new book wishlist.

In news from long-term Black liberation prisoners Sundiata Acoli’s parole case has reached the New Jersey Supreme Court, and you can watch the arguments in his case here. A number of events were held to commemorate the 36th anniversary of Mutulu Shakur’s incarceration. A new website has also been set up for Kamau Sadiki, whose 69th birthday was in February.

Doug Wright, the last prisoner entrapped in the Cleveland 4 case that targeted the Occupy movement, is due to be released to a halfway house in March, and there’s a new fundraiser up for his post-release needs. Abdul Maumin Khabir has also just been granted compassionate release.

José Antonio Arreola Jiménez and José Luis Jiménez Meza, two indigenous political prisoners held by the Mexican state in the Nahuatzen 3 case, have just been released.

The Certain Days calendar project was recently featured on Kite Line Radio and the Millennials Are Killing Capitalism podcast.

Uprising Defendant News

Montez Lee, one of the Minnesota uprising defendants, was sentenced to 10 years in January on an arson charge. MN Uprising Arrestee Support write that:

During his sentencing Montez shared a very powerful statement where he described his experience with police brutality as a Black man and how he hoped to be a part of the solution not the problem, his hope to work to better himself and his community, and how his kids deserve better. He also expressed his immense gratitude to his close friends and all of those who have been supporting him through MUAS.

Montez’s attorney advocated for a lesser sentence of 88 months. The prosecutor, Mr. Calhoun, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. by saying “a riot is the language of the unheard” and then proceeded to advocate for a harsher sentence of 144 months for Montez. The judge decided on 120 months. We do not know yet if the nearly two years that Montez has already served will count towards this sentence or not.

Montez is expected to be moved to a prison either in MN or in a nearby state. We expect him to stay at Sherburne until February, at which point we will provide an update regarding his new location. Letters of support written to Montez would be extremely appreciated during this difficult time.

Montez Lee
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

As Drop the Charges wrote on Facebook:

One year after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, hundreds are facing federal charges for their alleged crimes during the riot. While federal prosecutors have invoked the domestic terrorism enhancement against progressives who were arrested because of their political activity, prosecutors have yet to seek this enhancement against anyone facing charges in connection to the Capitol riot. The Biden administration’s 2021 domestic terrorism report specifically cited the January 6 riot as justification for increased measures to counter domestic terrorism, but it is clear that these measures have primarily been used to target progressive and left-wing movements. Federal prosecutors have increased their use of the domestic terrorism sentencing enhancement against defendants from the 2020 uprisings for George Floyd and other progressive movements, which can bring a 2-year prison sentence up to twenty years.

As the Biden administration intensifies its repression against left-wing activists and those fighting for a better society, we must continue to show our support for those who are facing state repression. Over 300 protesters who were arrested during the 2020 uprisings for Black lives are still facing federal charges that the Biden administration has not dropped, and many of them are still awaiting their sentencing hearings. All of them deserve our ongoing support!

Hunger Strikes, Phone Zap Campaigns and Beyond

Over 40 migrants held in a New York detention facility have launched a hunger strike over their treatment, as more and more evidence comes to light showing links between staff and far-Right groups such as the Oath Keepers.

As the Daily Kos reported:

More than 40 immigrants detained at a New York facility are reportedly engaged in a hunger strike over frightening conditions at the location, including widespread racist abuses and intimidation by officers.

Notably, one officer repeatedly named in a civil rights complaint filed by organizations “appears to be affiliated with multiple ‘nazikommando’ email addresses.” The sheriff’s office that operates the Orange County Correctional Facility has already admitted ties to the white supremacist militia group Oath Keepers.

“The people detained in the Orange County jail are risking their lives to demand protection of their dignity and human rights,” said Envision Freedom Fund director of advocacy and policy Tania Mattos. “Holding the jail and ICE accountable for addressing immediate health and safety issues is the absolute minimum detained people are owed.”

The organizations said in a release that immigrants detained at OCCF have described “a culture of blatantly racist, dehumanizing treatment and an environment of deplorable conditions and access to medical care” that violate ICE’s own protocols. “They further describe a culture of fear, where immigrants are routinely retaliated against and placed in punitive isolation for speaking out and advocating for their rights.”

Black and Latino immigrants have said they’re singled out for abusive treatment, including “racist and anti-immigrant slurs.” Horrific—and not at all a surprise considering who runs the place.

Another hunger strike has been launched by prisoners at Alexander Correctional Institution in North Carolina, and a phone zap has been called in support of their demands.

Indiana prisoner support group IDOC Watch have had a busy month. They’ve published a historical report on the Sons of Light, a white supremacist prison guard organization, and a description of the racist harassment and brutality that Virginia prison staff have been using to target Shaka Shakur, an Indiana prisoner who’s been transferred out of state. They have an upcoming online rally and teach-in in support of Shaka organized for March 5th. IDOC Watch have also called an urgent phone zap to defend Abu Faheem Shabazz, a prisoner facing retaliation for his organizing work at Westville Correctional Facility.

According to Oakland Liberation and Solidarity, the hunger strike at the Santa Rita jail in the east bay area continues and supporters on the outside recently organized another phone-zap campaign in support. Here’s a report:

Prisoners in Santa Rita Jail are still protesting price gouging by the Sheriff, as well as poor quality food and small portions that are used to drive hungry people to spend money on commissary. Thanks to all who joined us on Friday, January 28th for a phone zap in support of them! Participation was high, and Supervisors’ phones were ringing all day with calls! This zap gave us a clearer picture of where the five supervisors stand.

Conservative resistance to policy change is a longstanding problem in Alameda County, and it represents an obstacle to the changes demanded by the strikers. Supervisors Valle and Miley sit on the Public Protection committee. Changes to Santa Rita Jail must go through this committee.

Since the last zap…

  • Two rounds of solidarity statements from the community have gone inside to the strikers.
  • Many people in Housing Unit 3 remain on hunger strike, some taking turns on a “rolling strike,” refusing food for two weeks before taking a break.
  • Many prisoners have reported to the SRJ Hotline that the portion sizes of County food have decreased, and that the Jail is using new meal trays that are at least 1” smaller in depth.
  • Community members are analyzing 2021 and 2022 commissary prices and how they compare to street prices. Stay tuned for a link to this data.

Strikers are calling on the community to keep the pressure on and the support flowing!

On top of all that, IDOC Watch have partnered with Kite Line Radio to put out a series of interviews with Indiana prisoner Rodney “Big R” Jones, including an episode on life in a maximum restraint unit, one on uncovering white supremacist violence, and an episode on the 1985 Pendleton uprising, which was sparked by prisoners responding to the violence of the Sons of Light guard gang.

The Final Straw Radio have shared a statement from seven Asheville defendants facing charges in a crackdown on mutual aid organizing. A plaintext version of the statement is available here, and Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross have shared some new anti-repression zines and resources.

Families and friends of federal prisoners have started a new campaign demanding an end to lockdowns, after 120 federal prisons were locked down nationwide in response to one fight in one prison.

The San Francisco Bay View has published a new article from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson calling on people to support the inmates at Florida State Prison, and It’s Going Down has a new report on a noise demo against the Pima County Detention Center in Arizona.

The International Anti-Fascist Defense Fund have a report on the ongoing fallout from the repression against anti-fascists in Newnan, Georgia, in early 2018, where one anti-fascist has now won $40,000 in compensation after being targeted by the state.

The Final Straw Radio recently rebroadcast a pair of interviews with Bomani Shakur/Keith Lamar and Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, as well as a new prison abolition mixtape.


In international news, perhaps some of the most high-profile repression over the past month has been that faced by Russian anti-war protesters. You can donate to ABC Moscow by sending money via paypal to [email protected]. Even before the war started, it had already been a busy month for Russian anarchists, as the “Minecraft case” went to court, and saw 16-year-old Nikita Uvarov sentenced to five years in prison for flyers and internet chats.

Over in Belarus, Belarus ABC have published a general overview of repression in 2021, as well as their monthly report for January 2022, and a special report on the case of Aleksandr Zaitsev, who appears to be an anarchist entrapped by an informant in a case similar to those of the Cleveland 4, NATO 3, or Eric McDavid.

In the UK, the Kill the Bill trials continue, with defendant Jasmine York being acquitted on a riot charge but convicted of arson. The Guardian has published an article looking at the harsh charges being used by the prosecution in these cases, and an up-to-date list of prisoners can be found on the Bristol ABC site.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. See Uprising Support for more info, and check out the Antirepression PDX site for updates from Portland cases. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Isaiah Willoughby 49960-086
FCI Mendota
P.O. Box 9
Mendota, CA 93640

Kelly Jackson 50288-086
FCI Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 5000
Sheridan, OR 97378

Tyre Means 49981-086
USP Beaumont
PO BOX 26030
Beaumont, TX 77720

Malik Muhammad #825999
11540 NE Inverness Dr.
Portland OR 97220

Montez Lee
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Matthew White #21434-041
USP McCreary
P.O. Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635

Matthew Rupert #55013-424
USP McCreary
P.O. Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635

José Felan
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr.
NW Suite 200 Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Branden Wolf #22425-041
FCI Oxford
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 1000
Oxford, WI  53952

Dylan Robinson 45802-013
USP Leavenworth
P.O. BOX 1000

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105
You can donate to David’s legal funds here

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan
Updated address pending

Christopher West 04670-509
USP Canaan
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 300
Waymart, PA 18472
You can also buy fundraiser clothing for Christopher “Brother Hush” West here.

Ellie Brett 14822509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

John Wade 14762509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Alvin Joseph 99529156 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Gwinnett Co Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Develcho Waller 73223019
Updated address pending

Joseph Jett 1910905 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Clayton County Jail
9157 Tara Boulevard
Jonesboro, GA 30250

Shamar Betts 22080-043
FCI Hazelton Federal Correction Inst.
P.O. Box 5000
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525

Diego Vargas 55070-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Andrew Garcia-Smith 02324-509
FCI Williamsburg
PO Box 340
Salters, SC 29590

Kyree Robertson #597000
Parnall Correctional Facility
1780 E. Parnall Rd.
Jackson, MI 49201

Chase Vladimir Spencer
Kent County Correctional Facility
703 Ball Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Antonio Wooden 17569-028
FTC Oklahoma City
Federal Transfer Center
P.O. BOX 898801
Oklahoma City, OK  73189

Upcoming Birthdays

Reverend Joy Powell

As a pastor and a consistent activist against police brutality, violence and oppression in her community, Rev. Joy Powell was warned by the Rochester Police department that she was a target because of her speaking out against corruption. On many occasions Rev. Joy had held rallies and spoke out against the police brutality and “police justifications” in Rochester NY. As a result, Rev. Joy was accused and convicted of 1st Degree Burglary and Assault.

An all white jury tried her; the state provided no evidence and no eyewitnesses. Rev. Joy was not allowed to discuss her activism or say that she was a pastor. The person that testified for her was not allowed to tell the court that he knew Rev. Joy through their activist work and through the church. Furthermore the judge Francis Affronti promised he was going to give her a harsh sentence because he did not like her. She was convicted and given 16 years and seven years concurrent.

The New York system uses Jpay, so you can send her a message by going to, clicking “inmate search,” then selecting “State: New York, Inmate ID: 07G0632”.

Birthday: March 5


Reverend Joy Powell #07G0632
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499

Kevan Thackrar

Kevan Thakrar has been fighting for his life for the last 11 years after a wrongful conviction. In 2008 at the age of 20 Kevan began serving a life sentence, with a minimum term of 35 years, under the highly controversial “joint enterprise” doctrine.

Kevan’s refusal to submit to racist abuse from prison guards has made him a target for reprisals. Notably, in 2010 he suffered a premeditated attack in his cell by HMP Frankland guards. When he fought back he was charged with attempted murder and GBH, and put in solitary confinement, where in one form or another he remains to this day. The charges were sufficiently brazen that a jury cleared him unanimously in a rare victory against the testimony of prison offices.

Despite his success in court, Kevan has been isolated in Closed Supervision Centres (a ‘prison within a prison’) across the country and currently at HMP Whitemoor. Closed Supervisions Centres are the most extreme form of imprisonment in the UK, modeled on the “supermax” prisons in the United States, and Kevan’s testimony is one of the few sources of information available to those on the outside. They are the ultimate punishment in the British prison system and subject people within them to brutal dehumanisation, degradation and demonisation.

Kevan Thakrar is a key voice from inside the UK prison system today, writing extensively on the conditions endured by people held in the worst prisons in the country. He is an IWW/IWOC member and has worked closely with groups such as Bristol Anarchist Black Cross.

UK prisoners can be emailed using

Birthday: March 9


Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
YO41 1PS

Ruchell “Cinque” Magee

Ruchell is the longest held political prisoner in the U.S., having been locked up since 1963. Politicized in prison, he later participated in the Marin County Courthouse Rebellion, the attempted liberation of political prisoner George Jackson. Although critically wounded on August 7, 1970, Magee was the sole survivor among the four brave Black men who conducted the courthouse slave rebellion, leaving him to be charged with everything they could throw at him.

California uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to, clicking “inmate search,” then selecting “State: California, Inmate ID: A92051”.

Birthday: March 16


Ruchell Cinque Magee #A92051
T 115
California Medical Facility
Post Office Box 2000
Vacaville, California

Azat Miftakhov

Azat Miftakhov is a Russian anarchist who was arrested and tortured for allegedly breaking a window in an office of Putin’s United Russia party, and has now been given a six-year prison sentence for this alleged act. If you wish to send a message to Azat, the best thing to do is probably to contact his support team at [email protected].

Birthday: March 22

Mikita Yemelyanau

Mikita Yemelyanau is an anarchist political prisoner from Minsk, Belarus, serving a four-year sentence for an arson attack at a pre-trial detention center and for throwing paint at a court. Both actions were in solidarity with Dzmitry Palijenka, another anarchist political prisoner. Letters written in any other language than Russian or Belarusian may not reach prisoners in Belarus, but if you contact Belarus ABC at belarus_abc(AT) or using this online form, they can translate your message and send it on for you.

Birthday: March 24

Address (for Russian or Belarusian letters only):

Yemelyanov Nikita Vladimirovich
ul. Krupskoy 99A, ST-4
212011 Mogilev,

George Skatzes

George Skatzes is a Lucasville Uprising prisoner, sentenced to death for his alleged participation in the 1993 uprising. George was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood at the time of the uprising, but has since left the organization and is quoted as saying that joining was “the biggest mistake of my life.” He has maintained close bonds of solidarity with the other Lucasville defendants such as Bomani Shakur and Siddique Abdullah Hasan ever since the uprising.

Ohio uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to, clicking “inmate search,” then selecting “State: Ohio, Inmate ID: 173501.”

Birthday: March 29


George Skatzes
Chillicothe CI
PO BOX 5500
Chillicothe OH 45601

photo: Pixabay

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A monthly report on prison rebels, State repression, and news from an abolitionist perspective.

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