17 February 2012

Protest Prison Vendetta Against Jalil Muntaqim

On February 9, the Partisan Defense Committee sent the following protest letter on behalf of Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), a former member of the Black Panther Party and then the Black Liberation Army. Muntaqim was one of the New York 3 who were convicted in 1975 in a COINTELPRO frame-up on charges of killing two New York City cops in 1971. Muntaqim was also targeted in the recent campaign against former Panthers known as the San Francisco 8 (see “COINTELPRO Charges Dropped Against Four SF8 Defendants” in WV No. 941, 28 August 2009).

We are writing to protest the campaign of harassment being meted out to Anthony Bottom, also known as Jalil Muntaqim, since his transfer to Attica Correctional Facility. Mr. Bottom has now been sentenced to six months in Special Housing Unit (SHU) on the outrageous pretext that he possessed photographs taken at memorials for former Black Panthers. These were confiscated as supposedly “gang-related,” or representative of an “unauthorized organization.”

The false characterization of the Black Panther Party as a “gang” has long been used by prison authorities as a means to repress outspoken advocates of black rights incarcerated throughout the country. This continues even at a time when the Black Panther Party has ceased to be a social force for many decades now.

That Mr. Bottom’s photos were not in any way contraband is attested by the fact they were transferred to him by the prison’s Correspondence Department. Clearly this persecution is due to his political beliefs and past affiliations. We demand that Anthony Bottom be taken out of SHU, that all his photographs be returned to him and this campaign of harassment be stopped.

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Protests should be sent to: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Office of the Attorney General, The Capitol, Albany, NY 12224-0341; and Commissioner Brian Fischer, NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Building 2, 1220 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12226-2050. Letters should reference Anthony “Jalil” Bottom, Attica inmate, DIN number 77A4283.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 996, 17 February 2012)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.