Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Repression, US
Call to write letters in support for parole of long-time political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim.
Once again, we are preparing for Jalil’s upcoming parole hearing in June. Since the PBA, the FOP, and the Correctional Officers union are able to collect thousands of signatures against parole, we must work to gain as many signatures and letters of support for Jalil as possible. A hard copy of the petition can be downloaded here. This can be signed and returned to [email protected].
You can also download and print out the parole campaign brochure explaining Jalil’s case as a way of educating people about the political nature of the case and the parole board’s constant denials despite national and international support for Jalil’s release on parole.
We are making an effort to include letters of support for Jalil that are personalized and from people who are familiar with him and his work. If you want further instructions for how to write a strong, personalized letter of support, please email [email protected].
Jalil has also prepared a fact sheet for those who would like to write letters to the Parole Board on his behalf.
Anthony Bottom (Jalil A. Muntaqim) has been in prison since 1971, one of the longest held political prisoners in the world. Having spent more time in prison than Nelson Mandela, in 46+ years Jalil has accomplished the following:
* In 1977, he started the first national prisoners newspaper called “Arm the Spirit”.
* In 1976-77, he initiated a national prisoners campaign to petition the United Nations on the issue of prison conditions and the existence of political prisoners. The petition was heard by a special UN Committee, and recorded as UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/NGO/75.
* In 1986, he drafted a legislative bill for New York State prisoners to obtain good time off their maximum sentence. The bill was submitted and introduced into the New York State Committee on Corrections by former Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve.
* In 1994, while incarcerated at Shawangunk Correctional Facility, he established the first Men’s Council in any U.S. prison. His efforts were featured on television in Japan and written about in the NY Times. During this period, he also graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Sociology. He also taught African Studies to a group of prisoners.
* On two occasions, he received commendations from prison officials for quelling potential prison riots, one in the mess hall at Great Meadows Correctional Facility and another in the auditorium of Greenhaven Correctional Facility.
* In 1998, he co-initiated a national march and demonstration in Washington, D.C., calling for recognition and amnesty for U.S. political prisoners. Over 8,000 activists from across the country participated. This led to the formation of the Jericho Amnesty Movement, of which he is a founding member.
* From 1996-99, he was the office manager of the prison computer lab at Eastern Correctional Facility. His duties consisted of teaching prisoners keyboarding skills and how to use computer software programs. During that time he also raised money from inmate accounts to support the charitable Children’s Fund.
* In 1999, in Auburn Correctional Facility, he established sociology, poetry and legal research and discussion classes under the auspices of the Lifers’ Committee that he chaired.
* He co-sponsored the Victory Gardens Project, a program in which farmers in Maine grew tons of fresh produce for distribution to poor urban communities in New York, New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts. In the four years of its existence, the Project distributed nearly 10,000 pounds of fresh produce in urban centers.
* In response to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, while in Auburn Correctional Facility, he proposed raising funds from inmates to donate to the American Red Cross. Former Deputy Superintendent of Programs R. Nelson acknowledged Jalil’s efforts in a memorandum.
* While in Auburn Correctional Facility he worked as a Pre-GED Teacher’s Assistant and earned a vocational certificate for Architectural Drafting. He also proposed and gained the approval for a Life Skills Program for inmates.
* Over the years Jalil has filed several lawsuits on behalf of prisoners, including trying to win NYS prisoners the right to vote, and to amend Executive Law §259i for parole reform for class A1 felons.
* He is a published author of essays and poetry; his writings are also found in several University-sponsored books of compilations of prison writers. He has also written an unpublished novel and teleplay.
In the event of his release on parole, Jalil intends to establish community computer lab centers to instruct youth and seniors on computer literacy, closing the digital divide, etc.
To learn more about Jalil, check his website: www.freejalil.com.
To write a letter in you own words in support of parole for Jalil, address to:
Senior Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator
Sullivan Correctional Facility
325 Riverside Drive
Fallsburg, New York 12733
BUT SEND TO:
The Parole Preparation Project
168 Canal Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Also, please send a copy of your letter to Jalil for his files: Anthony Bottom #77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116. NYC Jericho will send all returned hard copy parole petitions as well as the online petition to the above address.