Political prisoner friday is back at SCISSION. I believe it is of utmost importance that we never forget our POWs and political prisoners. They are a part of us. We should all be doing what we can to support them and to help gain their freedom.
The struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico has produced scores of male and female heroes. Oscar Lopez Rivera is one of them. Oscar is serving 70 years in the prisons of his islands colonizers and masters. The Denver Black Cross writes:
In 1975, Oscar was forced underground, along with other comrades. The FBI claimed that he was one of the leaders of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), a Puerto Rican nationalist clandestine group that fought for the independence of Puerto Rico. Oscar has neither confirmed nor denied his involvement in FALN and out of principle has refused to denounce armed struggle as a legitimate means to gaining independence.On May 29, 1981 Oscar was captured in Chicago after five years underground. Oscar was found guilty on five counts involving seditious conspiracy, armed robbery, weapons violations and interstate transportation of stolen property. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.Political Prisoner StatusAt the time of their arrest Lopez Rivera and the others declared themselves to be combatants in an anti-colonial war against the United States to liberate Puerto Rico from U.S. domination and invoked prisoner of war status. They argued that the U.S. courts did not have jurisdiction to try them as criminals and petitioned for their cases to be handed over to an international court that would determine their status. The U.S. Government, however, did not recognize their request.The sentences received by Lopez Rivera and the other Nationalists were judged to be “out of proportion to the nationalists’ offenses.” Statistics showed their sentences were almost 20 times greater than sentences for similar offenses by the American population at large.For many years, numerous national and international organizations criticized Lopez Rivera’ incarceration categorizing it as political imprisonment. His disproportionate sentence, the targeting of him and others by the FBI beforehand, the nebulous charges of conspiracy, the political nature of the charges made against Oscar, and the intentional isolation and long-term confinement he has endured all make it clear that Oscar Lopez Rivera is not simply a prisoner, but a political prisoner.
FREE OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA
The following is from the ProLibertad Freedom Campaign.