It is prison Friday and we return to the case of Russell Maroon ShoatZ.
Russell is a founding member of the Black Unity Council and a former member of the Black Panther Party.
Russell was a solider in the Black Liberation Army and he is serving endless time for an attack on a police station which resulted in the death of an officer.
transferred to the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Frackville, amaximum security institution. He has once again been immediately placed ina restricted housing unit (RHU): solitary confinement of twenty-three-hour-a-day lock down. Shoatz was not given a reason for the transfer.
The transfer came one week before Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’
(PA DOC) officials, including Secretary John Wetzel, must report to a
federal judge on the progress of Shoatz’s release into the general
population. DOC defendants in the case Shoatz v. Wetzel have represented to the court on multiple occasions that they intend to release
Shoatz into the general population, but have so far failed to do so.
Coming on the heels of a weekend of events held around the country in honor
of Shoatz’s birthday, the transfer highlights the refusal of the PA DOC to
respond to a major international campaign, launched in May 2012, to win the
release of this senior citizen into General Population. In a birthday
message sent jointly to Shoatz and PA DOC Secretary Wetzel, three Nobel
Peace Prize recipients – Archbishop Desmond Tutu of
South Africa, Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor and Mairead Corrigan Maguire
of Ireland – demanded “in the strongest possible humanitarian terms” that
“now is the time for the immediate and unconditional release” of Shoatz.
Archbishop Tutu, a founder of the Elders group which includes Nelson
Mandela and former US President Jimmy Carter, and Ramos-Horta, former
President of East Timor and a Special Representative of the United Nations,
have vowed that they will continue to monitor the situation of Shoatz until
his “unfair and unjust treatment” is alleviated. A report of Shoatz’s case
has been formally filed with the office of the UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez.