From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jan 10 07:36:36 2002
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 08:50:54 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Radio Havana Cuba-08 January 2002
Atlanta, January 8 (RHC)—In the US, a former black militant who renounced violence and became a Muslim cleric is due to face trial this week in a murder case that according to some observers will highlight the racial and religious divisions in American society.
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, known in the 1960s as H. Rap Brown, is charged with killing one police officer and wounding another in Atlanta, Georgia almost two years ago when he resisted efforts to arrest him on minor charges. Socially and politically active in Atlanta’s black community, Al-Amin had denounced a police harassment campaign against him that included efforts to set him with trumped up charges.
The accused has insisted that he is the victim of a government conspiracy that dates back to the days of the late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the agency’s illegal Counter-Intelligence Program - known as COINTELPRO. Defense attorneys are affirming that ballistics evidence in the case contradicts statements made by both officers immediately following the gunfire.
In a telephone interview from his cell, Al-Amin told the
Times that the FBI has a file on him containing 44,000
documents. He said that at some point they had to justify all the
investigations and money spent trying to incarcerate him, but that
more than anything else, they still fear a personality, a charcter
coming up among African-Americans who could galvanize support among
all the different elements in the African-American community.
The trial is expected to revive memories of the civil rights struggle in the south, during which as H. Rap Brown the accused battled for the voting rights for disenfranchised blacks as a leader of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He later became a member of the Black Panther Party, then in 1971 was sentenced to five years for a New York bank robbery that ended in a shoot-out with police.
Jury selection was to begin Tuesday after the original hearing slated for September was postponed due to concerns about a prejudicial atmoshphere following the terror attacks. Judge Stephanie Manis has threatened to declare Al-Amin in contempt of court and stripped from him his jail phone privileges for speaking with newspapers and writing letters to the congregation at his mosque. She said the defendant has the right to proclaim his innocence in the courtroom, but not in public. With 1,500 potential jurors summoned, it could take as long as a month to seat a panel.