Friday, November 12, 2010

Release Imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era Political Activists

November 10, 2010
CONTACT: Efia Nwangaza, (864) 901-8627;

U.N. Human Rights Council Recommends U.S.
“End the unjust incarceration of political prisoners, including Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal”

To “Lead by example,” U.S. Must Heed Recommendations, Use “Exisitng” or Create Other Mechanisms to Release Imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era Political Activists, Says USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group

Greenville, SC – The U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) issued a set of recommendations for the United States to bring its human rights policies and practices in line with international standards. The recommendations are the result of the first-ever participation by the U.S. in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves a thorough assessment of a nation's human rights record. USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group, which was in Geneva last week to observe the UPR process, welcomed U.S. participation as an important step toward establishing human rights at home and deeply appreciates the call for the release of U.S. political prisoners.

"The UPR process has provided the Obama administration an opportunity to identify U.S. human rights violations, develop real solutions and bring U.S. policies in line with international human rights standards, as symbolized by its “multi-racial, gendered, and religious” Geneva delegation. The Obama administration should set a good example by using its executive authority, clemency powers, and working with Congress and state and local governments to translate human rights commitments into domestic laws and policies to complete the unfinished business of the COINTELPRO/Civil Rights era and release political activists held longer than Nelson Mandela for the same reasons Mandela was imprisoned,” stated Efia Nwangaza, Group Leader and Director, African American Institute for Policy Studies & Planning.

The USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group calls on the U.S. government to heed the recommendations of the HRC, and:

That the U.S. Department of Justice review the convictions of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody for civil and human rights violations.

President Obama use his clemency power and/or executive authority to create or establish mechanisms, e.g. Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to commute the sentences and expedite release of all COINTELRO/Civil Rights Era political activists currently held as prisoners in U.S. federal and state custody.

Human Rights Council draft report on U.S. Universal Periodic Review is available here:

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