PRican PP Scheduled for Parole in May
Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres is scheduled for a parole hearing in May.
He was initially scheduled for a January hearing, which he postponed after being falsely charged with a disciplinary violation the week before that hearing. The prison disciplinary committee proceeded to find him guilty of possession of knives hidden in a light fixture in the cell he shared with nine other prisoners, in spite of a sworn confession by the person responsible. Carlos’ administrative appeal is still pending.
The Parole Commission has not yet set a specific date, but it will likely be the week of May 25. There is still time to collect letters supporting his parole, and get them to the address below... deadline for receipt: May 15.
People’s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60622
Sample letter for Carlos and Oscar - please print out, sign and send to Jan Susler
To the President of the United States:
We write to ask you to release two Puerto Rican men currently in federal prison: Oscar López Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres. Both have served almost 30 years, convicted of seditious conspiracy, for their involvement in the Puerto Rican independence movement. Although they were not convicted of harming anyone or taking a life, they were given disproportionately severe sentences of 70 years.
Mr. López and Mr. Torres were convicted with many others, 11 of whom were released in 1999 by way of presidential commutation. In granting their release, President Clinton followed the example of other presidents who exercised this constitutional power, such as Jimmy Carter, who offered amnesty to 5 Puerto Rican Nationalists in 1979. Mr. Clinton was also responding to the requests of thousands of citizens who had requested their release. While he did not endorse their political beliefs, he recognized the injustice of their lengthy sentences, given that they were not convicted of harming anyone or taking a life. The women and men released by Presidents Clinton and Carter have successfully integrated into civil society, supporting themselves and caring for their loved ones.
The international campaign for their release in 1999 enjoyed wide support from a broad base, including Puerto Ricans in the U.S. and on the island, elected officials and religious leaders. Notable supporters of the campaign were President Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Coretta Scott King, several Nobel Peace Prize laureates, as well as leaders of the major religious denominations in Puerto Rico and the U.S., all representing a variety of political ideologies and viewpoints. Yet, they shared a common belief that they had served sufficient time in prison at the time of their release 16 to19 years and supported their release as a human rights issue. This international campaign is still very much in place, and most recently included a resolution from the United Nations, specifically requesting you to release them.
Oscar López Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres, both in medium security facilities, have been model prisoners, involved in a variety of educational and cultural projects while in prison. They have been separated from their families, friends, and communities for nearly 30 years. We urge you to exercise the constitutional power in your hands, commuting their sentences so that we may welcome them to our midst.
City, State, Zip Code______________________________________
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