Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 22:31:12 -0600 (CST)
/** reg.carib: 214.0 **/
The U.N. Petition
Covert Action Quarterly, 26 October 1998
On December 11, 1978, attorney Lennox Hinds, on behalf of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racism, and the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ, sent a petition to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights alleging a "consistent pattern of gross...violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of certain classes of political prisoners in the United States because of their race, economic status, and political beliefs."
The petition, referring to the case of Assata Shakur, stated that, "The FBI and the New York Police Departments, in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel, and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army, which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur's relation to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI's most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a "shoot to kill target"
In response to the petition, seven international jurists visited a number of prisons on August 3-20, 1979, and reported their findings... They listed four categories of prisoners, the first of which were political prisoners, defined as "a class of victims of FBI misconduct through the COINTELPRO strategy and other forms of illegal government conduct who as political activists have been selectively targeted for provocation, false arrests, entrapment, fabrication of evidence, and spurious criminal prosecutions. This class is exemplified by at least: The Wilmington Ten, the Charlotte Three, Assata Shakur, Sundiata Acoli, Imari Obadele and other Republic of New Africa defendants, David Rice, Ed Poindexter, Elmer Geronimo Pratt, Richard Marshall, Russell Means, Ted Means, and other American Indian Movement defendants."
"One of the worst cases," they wrote, "is that of Assata Shakur, who spent over twenty months in solitary confinement in two separate men's prisons subject to conditions totally unbefitting any prisoner. Many more months were spent in solitary confinement in mixed or all-women's prisons. Presently, after protracted litigation, she is confined at Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in maximum security. She has never on any occasion been punished for any infraction of prison rules which might in any way justify such cruel or unusual punishment."