Posts Tagged ‘Petition’

Sign This Petition To Support Parole For Herman Bell

We don’t typically promote online petitions, but this one has the potential to have influence in supporting parole for our comrade Herman Bell. The full text of the petition is below. Please sign and share with others

To Chairwoman, Board of Parole, New York State, Tina M. Stanford

Grant parole to New York State prisoner Herman Bell

We are asking that Herman Bell be granted release on parole at his February 2016 hearing

Herman Bell has been in state custody since 1979 and has been denied release on parole 6 times since he first became eligible in 2004.

Every time Herman has been denied, it has been for the same reason-that releasing him would undermine the law and deprecate the seriousness of the crime. Herman has taken responsibility and expressed regret for the shooting of the police officer and has served 4 decades in prison for this offense. He is by all accounts, a much different person than he was in 1971 and further incarceration serves no purpose other than vengeance. We believe Herman has done everything he can to make amends for his crime and we ask that he be granted parole at his 7th parole hearing in 2016.

While incarcerated, Herman has been a model prisoner and a positive influence on those around him. He has been a mentor and father-figure to many young men in prison, helping them take advantage of every academic and vocational program they can to prepare for release and reintegration into society. In addition to earning a dual Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and sociology, and a Masters degree in sociology, Herman has coached football and basketball in order to have a positive influence on the many young men he has met during his 4 decades in prison. With Herman’s help, the Victory Gardens project was established in 1995 with two farmers in Maine. The project brought together people from diverse lifestyles and remote locations to plant, grow, tend, harvest, and then distribute the food free to our communities. This life-giving project enjoyed eight successful seasons distributing food in Maine, Boston, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx.

Herman’s continued denials at the parole board are sadly, not a rarity but the norm. The number of incarcerated people ages 50+ in New York has increased 81% from 2000 to 2013, even as the total number of people locked up has fallen by 23% during the same period. Today, 17% of incarcerated men and 15% of incarcerated women in the New York prison system are over 50 years of age- roughly 9,000 people. Herman is 67 years old.

This is an unnecessary crisis. Many of these elders should be released. New York routinely denies parole to elders behind bars, even though they pose no risk to public safety and are fully prepared to successfully re-enter and contribute to society. The recidivism rate of people who have served long sentences for serious felonies is 1.3%—lower than any other category of those released. Many, like Herman, have records of positive achievement in prison and are praised by prison officials as peacemakers and role models.

Campaign to Secure Parole for Robert Seth Hayes


sethLike many long-term comrades in New York State (NYS), political prisoner Robert Seth Hayes is coming before the parole board this summer. This will be Seth’s tenth appearance before such a board. We are asking that you participate in his freedom campaign per his request in whatever way works for you. While we harbor no false hope in this parole campaign and those of other NYS comrades like Herman Bell, Jalil Muntaquim, and Maliki Shakur Latine, we always respond to calls for solidarity and will continue to push the parole board to let our people come home.

Despite setbacks in the movement to implement a genuine, fair and just parole system in New York (such as this recent court decision), there is resistance to the endless politicizing and denials of the parole system. Groups like RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison)–founded and run in part by former prisoners–are making great strides educating the public and highlighting specific examples of elder prisoners and the need for parole reform. Time will tell whether or not the state of New York will make a significant change in how it implements parole for all prisoners and specifically, the NYS political prisoners.

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Letter-writing Campaign for Sekou Kambui

kambui copySekou Cinque T. M. Kambui (state name William J. Turk) has requested a letter-writing campaign asserting his innocence in preparation for his upcoming parole hearing, that may happen as soon as April 2014. Time is of the essence and NYC ABC is asking folks for a last minute push in this ongoing campaign.

Sekou maintains that he has committed no crime, and yet has been under the heel of the State since 1975, when he was accused of murdering a wealthy white oil-man and a KKK member in Alabama. He was pulled over in January of 1975 and accused of and arrested for the December 1974 murder after a pistol was found in his car. After his first trial, multiple witnesses later reported that they had been coerced into testifying against Sekou. Further, every defense witness was driven out of the state by police intimidation. No proven murder weapon has been found, and neither Sekou nor the pistol found in his car has never been linked to the crime scene.

Sekou was a member of the Black Panther Party and an organizer with a variety of organizations, including Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Republic of New Afrika. As a result of his activism, Sekou was caught up in the COINTELPRO dragnet— part the State’s effort to suppress dissent and make activism criminal. He must be freed!

So, what can you do? The first thing could not be simpler. Sign this petition (also available at . What next, you ask? Take the time to write a letter to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. We’ve even included a sample letter after the break to get you started. Letters should be sent to:
Offices of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway & Campbell, L.L.C.
ATTN: Attorney Faya Ora Rose Toure
1 Union Street
Post Office Box 1290
Selma, Alabama 36702-1290
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