A weblog dedicated to gathering documentation directly from prisoners, from media and other sources about the state of prisons and prisoners' - human rights abuses.
In cooperation with our other weblogs of the Prison Watch Network.
This is posted on The Guardian: In March 2013, reports of a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the US
detention camp in Cuba, began to surface. Details were sketchy and were
contradicted by statements from the US military. Now, using testimony
from five detainees, this animated film reveals the daily brutality of
life inside Guantánamo. Today there are 17 prisoners still on hunger
strike, 16 of whom are being force-fed. Two are in hospital
• Warning: contains scenes some viewers might find disturbing
morning we lost without a doubt the biggest, bravest, and brashest
personality in the political prisoner world. It is with great sadness
that we write with the news of Herman Wallace's passing.
Herman never did anything half way. He embraced his many quests and
adventures in life with a tenacious gusto and fearless determination
that will absolutely never be rivaled. He was exceptionally loyal and
loving to those he considered friends, and always went out of his way to
stand up for those causes and individuals in need of a strong voice or
fierce advocate, no matter the consequences.
Anyone lucky enough to have spent any time with Herman knows that his
indomitable spirit will live on through his work and the example he left
behind. May each of us aspire to be as dedicated to something as
Herman was to life, and to justice.
Below is a short obituary/press statement for those who didn't know him
well in case you wish to circulate something. Tributes from those who
were closest to Herman and more information on how to help preserve his
legacy by keeping his struggle alive will soon follow.
------------------ On October 4th, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the
modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man
after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement.
Herman spent the last four decades of his life fighting against all that
is unjust in the criminal justice system, making international the
inhuman plight that is long term solitary confinement, and struggling to
prove that he was an innocent man. Just 3 days before his passing, he
succeeded, his conviction was overturned, and he was released
to spend his final hours surrounded by loved ones. Despite his brief
moments of freedom, his case will now forever serve as a tragic example
that justice delayed is justice denied.
Herman Wallace's early life in New Orleans during the heyday of an
unforgiving and unjust Jim Crow south often found him on the wrong side
of the law and eventually he was sent to the Louisiana State
Penitentiary at Angola for armed robbery. While there, he was
introduced to the Black Panther's powerful message of self determination
and collective community action and quickly became one of its most
persuasive and ardent practitioners.
Not long after he began to organize hunger and work strikes to protest
the continued segregation, endemic corruption, and horrific abuse
rampant at the prison, he and his fellow panther comrades Albert Woodfox
and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and
thrown in solitary. Robert was released in 2001 after 29 years in
solitary but Herman remained there for an unprecedented 41 years, and
Albert is still in a 6x9 solitary cell.
Herman's criminal case ended with his passing, but his legacy will live
on through a civil lawsuit he filed jointly with Robert and Albert that
seeks to define and abolish long term solitary confinement as cruel and
unusual punishment, and through his comrade Albert Woodfox's still active and promising bid for freedom from the wrongful conviction they both shared.
Herman was only 9 days shy of 72 years old.
Services will be held in New Orleans. The date and location will be forthcoming.
For more information visit www.angola3.org and www.angola3news.com.
Herman Wallace in April 2013: All Power to the People!