Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, US
Inspired by the spirit of the Political Prisoners Birthday crew, here’s a short listing of some rebel prisoners who have upcoming birthdays in March. For an an introduction on how to write to prisoners and some things to do and not to do, go here. If you have the time, please also check IWOC’s listing of prisoners facing retaliation for prison strike-related organizing.
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 there activist work and through the church. Further more 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.
Birthday: March 5
Reverend Joy Powell #07G0632
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499
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.
Birthday: March 9
Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
Prisoner on Death Row for the 2002 shooting of a California police officer” to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have come to be used throughout our country”.
Birthday: March 13
Andrew Mickel #V77400
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
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.
Birthday: March 16
Ruchell Cinque Magee #A92051
California Medical Facility
Post Office Box 2000
Jaan Karl Laaman
Political prisoner serving a 53 year prison sentence for his role in the bombings of United States government buildings while a member of the United Freedom Front, an American leftist group which robbed banks, bombed buildings, and attacked law enforcemen. Jaan played an active role in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa and US support for fascist death squads in Central America. Jaan is an editor of 4 Struggle Mag, and in 2017 he was subjected to harsh repression, including an extended spell in solitary, for writing two statements, one in support of the women’s strike and another commemorating the death of his friend Lynne Stewart.
Birthday: March 21
Jaan Karl Laaman #10372-016
P.O. Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635