Monday, July 11, 2011

Montreal Groups Issue Letter of Support for the Hunger Strikers in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison and other California Prisons

To Warden Lewis, Secretary Cate, and Governor Brown:

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our unequivocal support for the hunger-strikers in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison. Our groups have been working with prisoners in Canada, the USA and beyond, and we are well aware of the laws and Conventions that apply to the treatment of prisoners. Clearly, the mistreatment of the men incarcerated at this SHU and other similar institutions (e.g. Corcoran prison) constitutes a blatant violation of their human rights.

We believe that the men’s five core demands are in no way unreasonable. These demands are:

• Eliminate group punishments;
• Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria;
• Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement;
• Provide adequate food;
• Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates.(1)

What is unreasonable is the fact that these prisoners have been pushed to the brink and feel they have no choice but to make a public demonstration of denying themselves one of the basic needs of all human beings – food – in order to be heard. The fact that they have exhausted all other avenues in order to have their basic human rights respected raises serious concerns about the California prison system.

We strongly believe that prison authorities must apply the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which was adopted by the United Nations to these protesting, hungerstriking prisoners.

As prisoner Mutope Duguma has stated: “It should be clear to everyone that none of the hunger strike participants want to die […].”(2)

The International Community is watching very closely. We await your reply.

Hungerstrike Support Committee
c/o Certain Days calendar
QPIRG Concordia
1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, #204
Montreal QC H3G 1N1

endorsed by (as of July 11):

Certain Days Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar
CLAC Legal Committee
Comité pour un Secours rouge canadien
Immigrant Workers' Center
Kersplebedeb Publishing and Distribution
L'En-Droit de Laval
No One Is Illegal Montreal
Parti communiste révolutionnaire
People's Commission Network
Prison Radio Show CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal
Prisoner Correspondence Project
Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie
QPIRG Concordia
Solidarity Across Borders
The Termite Collective


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