Free the SF 8
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info from Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
Murder Charges Against Former Black Panthers Based on Confessions Extracted by Torture
Conspiracy count dropped against five of the eight – see details (December 4).
Nobel Peace Prize laureates issue International Call for justice for the San Francisco 8 – see full text (November 30).
Support SF8 Dec 2 Human Rights DayEight former Black Panthers were arrested January 23rd in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.
Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, and Hank Jones were arrested in California. Francisco Torres was arrested in Queens, New York. Harold Taylor was arrested in Florida. Two men charged – Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim – have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years in New York State prisons. A ninth man -- Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth – is still being sought. The men were charged with the murder of Sgt. John Young and conspiracy that encompasses numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.
Harold Taylor and John Bowman (recently deceased) as well as Ruben Scott (thought to be a government witness) were first charged in 1975. But a judge tossed out the charges, finding that Taylor and his two co-defendants made statements after police in New Orleans tortured them for several days employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation. Such "evidence" is neither credible nor legal.
Support the Defendants
* Learn more. Join the e-mail list. Write the defendants. Donate. See their Joint Statement. Distribute flyers. Host a house party. Organize a video showing. Come to court. Details on these activities and more on our "What You Can Do" page.
* Herman Bell, 59, of Mississippi, a political prisoner since 1973. Cointelpro's "pattern of manipulation and lies, continuing into the present, indicates something more than the ordinary corruption and racism of everyday law enforcement. It can be understood only in terms of the power of the political movement that [we] were part of, and the intensity of the government's efforts to destroy that movement and to disillusion and intimidate future generations of young activists." Write to him - 2318931, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103. See his statement on the case. More about Herman.
* Ray Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena. "Actually for the last 25 years I've lived a pretty peaceful and quiet life. My politics are still the same. It's just that I'm not active. People come to me sometimes as a peace-maker. And all of that has to do with all of my experience." Freed on bail September 11. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
* Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco. "For the past six years I have been a Community Court Judge Arbitrator working with the San Francisco District Attorney's office. We place a lot of emphasis on restorative justice, so most of the community service done will be done in our own community where the offender can give back to the community." Freed on bail August 30. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
* Henry W. (Hank) Jones, 70, of Altadena. "I [have lived] under the constant threat of another ... incarceration. In essence I have been robbed of peace of mind, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am therefore compelled to resist these tactics and inform the public of my recent experience, feeling that something similar could happen to anyone given the climate of fear, paranoia, and abuse of authority that is rampant in our country today." Freed on bail September 18. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
* Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), 55, of San Francisco, a political prisoner in New York since 1978. "The United States does not recognize the existence of political prisoners. To do so would give credence to the fact of the level of repression and oppression, and have to recognize the fact that people resist racist oppression in the United States, and therefore, legitimize the existence of not only the individuals who are incarcerated or have been captured, but also legitimize those movements of which they are a part." Write to him - 2311826, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103. See his statement on the case. More about Jalil.
* Richard O'Neal, 58, has worked for the City of San Francisco for 25 years, most recently at the Southeast Community Center in Bay View. “People who work there said they were stunned by his arrest, recalling him as a kind and gentle man who always had a smile on his face and would stay late to fix lights or other things.” (SF Chronicle) The dean of the campus noted, “He is a trusted employee who would do anything to help us...He would take the shirt off his back to try to help you.” Richard has been charged with “conspiracy.” Freed on bail August 29. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
* Demonstration in SF for SF8Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City. "In 1971, two brothers and I were set up by the FBI. We didn't learn about COINTELPRO until years later. In 1973 I was arrested in New Orleans and was beaten and tortured for several days. in 2003 the detectives that were responsible for my torture came to my house to try and question me. I have not been the same since." Freed on bail September 12. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
* Francisco Torres, 58, of New York City. Cisco born in Puerto Rico and raised in this country. He is a Vietnam Veteran who fought for the grievances of Black and Latino soldiers upon his return to the states. A former Black Panther, he has been a community activist since his discharge from the military in 1969. Freed on bail September 21. Write to him c/o Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, P.O. Box 90221, Pasadena, CA 91109.
About the Committee for Defense of Human Rights
The mission of the Committee for Defense of Human Rights is to draw attention to human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of the United States and law enforcement authorities which were carried out in an effort to destroy progressive organizations and individuals. By building coalitions with organizations and groups that advocate for human and civil rights, CDHR hopes to bring an end to these abuses. CDHR's basic principles are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
The mission of the Committee for Defense of Human Rights is to oppose human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of the United States and law enforcement authorities. These abuses continue to be carried out in an effort to destroy progressive organizations and individuals. CDHR hopes to build coalitions with organizations and groups that advocate for human and civil rights. CDHR's basic principles are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
The primary objective of CDHR is the full implementation of the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights are inalienable, universal and not subject to the discretion of governments or policy makers. CDHR believes there are universal principles encompassing human rights regardless of the political or social structures of governments. It is essential that universal human rights be made binding.
CDHR’s efforts are to strengthen our capacity to challenge human rights violators. CDHR will work and advocate building coalitions opposed to identifiable local, national and international human rights violations. Coalition organizations will maintain their integrity and identity. CDHR will work to forge a unity of purpose based on mutual concerns.
CDHR believes that to educate is to liberate. CDHR upholds the 10-concerns of the Black Panther Party which embodies the principles of human rights.
CDHR supports these Seven UN Conventions in support of human rights:
* Universal Declaration of Human Rights
* UN Convention Against Torture
* UN Convention Against Genocide
* UN Convention on Independence of Colonial States and People
* UN Convention Against Involuntary Slavery and Servitude
* UN Convention on Economic and Social Cooperation
* UN Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of war
The United States is a signatory and must be pressured to uphold them as set forth by Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution.
CDHR urges all progressive people and organizations to become familiar with these UN Conventions and participate in human rights campaigns.
CDHR believes that we as US citizens have every right to demand that our government live up to the letter of all laws it has agreed to.
Free the San Francisco 8 buttonCommittee for the Defense of Human Rights
P.O. Box 90221
Pasadena, CA 91109
E-mail: freethesf8 [at] riseup [dot] net