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THE BLACK LIBERATION JOURNAL!

CAMPAIGN FOR THE RELEASE OF SUNDIATA ACOLI
SUNDIATA ACOLI  -----    FREEDOM CAMPAIGN

(photo from http:// burn.ucsd.edu/~abcf/acoli.html)
 
 

Dear Sisters and Brothers:
    On May 2, 1973, three former members of the New York City chapter of the Black
Panther Party - - Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Malik Shakur- were
stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike for a purportedly "faulty tail-light.." A
shoot-out ensued during which a state trooper, Werner Foster, and Zayd were
killed and Assata and Sundiata wounded. Both Assata and Sundiata were
subsequently convicted of the murder of the trooper and related charges and
sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
    Twenty-six years later Sundiata remains in prison, and if New Jersey governor,
Christine Todd Whitman, and the New Jersey State Parole Board have their way,
will remain there for the remainder of his life. In 1994, Sundiata appeared
before the Parole Board was denied parole and assigned a new parole
eligibility date in 2006. At the time of his appearance before the Parole Board, Sundiata
had maintained a "charge free" record for eight years and had outstanding
educational and work reports. However, the Parole Board, in denying Sundiata's
release ignored all of the evidence supporting his release and instead
concluded that a substantial likelihood existed that if released on parole
Sundiata would commit another crime because of, inter alia, his former
membership in the BPP; his characterization of himself as a "political
prisoner," and because his family, friends and supporters had written letters
to the Parole Board demanding his release.
    In other words, Sundiata is being held in prison because of his and his
supporters First Amendment protected beliefs and activities. The transcript of
Sunidata's telephonic parole hearings and the Board's decisions also make
clear that the Parole Board had predetermined to deny Sundiata parole in
violation of his right to due process of law. Twenty six years is long enough! No evidence
exists that if released on parole, Sundiata, who is now 62 years old, will
embark on a life of "crime." Sundiata has already served more time than the
average person convicted of murder. Just because Sundiata is a former
member of the Black Panther Party and was convicted of a murder of state trooper, along
with another well known member of the BPP, Assata Shakur who successfully
escaped and was deservedly granted political asylum in Cuba, should not mean
that Sundiata should spend the remainder of his life in prison. The purpose of
prison, except in the instances in which the barbaric punishment of death is
imposed, is supposed to be rehabilitation, not torture and revenge!
Sundiata has unsuccessfully appealed the Parole Board's decision up to the
United States Supreme Court and is presently preparing to file a writ of
habeas corpus in federal court. In conjunction with the filing of his writ of habeas
corpus, Sundiata is launching a mass campaign calling on Governor Whitman and
the Parole Board to release him on parole. To succeed, he needs your support
and the support of others like you.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Endorse the following "Call for Release of Sundiata Acoli" by filling out
and returning the form below the Call to the Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign
today at SAParole@aol.com. Please include your full name, address and
organizational afflation, if any.
2. Copy and circulate this letter and Call for the Release of Sundiata
Acoli to as many people as possible.

Thank you in advance for your support of the freedom of Sundiata Acoli.
Sincerely,
Joan P. Gibbs, Esq. and Florence Morgan, Esq.
Legal Advisors to Sundiata Acoli

CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF SUNDIATA ACOLI
    For the past twenty-six years, Sundiata Acoli a former member of the New York
City chapter of the Black Panther Party and one of the "Panther 21" years has
been imprisoned on New Jersey state charges stemming from a May 1973 incident
involving Sundiata and two other former members of the BPP, Assata Shakur and
Zayd Malik Shakur. On May 2, 1973, while driving south on the New Jersey
Turnpike, Sundiata, Assata and Zayd, were stopped for a purportedly "faulty
tail-light." A shoot-out ensued during which a state trooper, Werner Foster,
and Zayd were killed and Assata and Sundiata wounded. Both Assata and Sundiata
were subsequently convicted of the murder of the trooper and related charges
and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
    In 1994, Sundiata appeared before the Parole Board was denied parole and
assigned a new parole eligibility date of 2006. At the time of his appearance
before the Parole Board, Sundiata had maintained a "charge free" record for
eight years and had outstanding progress, work and educational reports. In
denying Sundiata release on parole, the Parole Board ignored all of the
evidence supporting his release and instead concluded that a substantial
likelihood existed that if released on parole Sundiata would commit another
crime because of, inter alia, his former membership in the BPP and his
characterization of himself as a "political prisoner." In addition, the Parole
Board cited the fact that his family, friends and supporters had written
letters to the Parole Board demanding his release, in blatant violation of his
and supporters rights under the First Amendment! Indeed, the transcripts of
Sundiata's telephonic parole hearings and the Parole Board's decision strongly
suggest that the Parole Board had predetermined to deny Sunidata release on
parole in violation of his right to due process of law.
    Twenty six years is long enough! No evidence exists that if released on
parole, Sundiata, who is now 62 years old, will embark on a life of "crime." The
purpose of prison, except in the instances in which the barbaric punishment of
death is imposed, is supposed to be rehabilitation, not torture and revenge!
Sundiata has already spend more time in prison than others convicted of
similar crimes. Just because Sundiata is a former member of the Black Panther Party
and was convicted along with another well known member of the BPP Assata Shakur
who successfully escaped and was deservedly granted political asylum in Cuba,
should not mean that Sundiata should spend the remainder of his life in
prison.

We, the undersigned, therefore call on the Governor of New Jersey Christine
Whitman and the New Jersey State Parole to immediately release Sundiata Acoli
on parole.
Name:
Address:
Telephone:
Fax:
Electronic Mail:
Organizational Affiliation For Identification Only:
[ ] Yes, I support the Call for the Release of Sundiata Acoli.
[ ] No, I do not support the Call for the Release of Sundiata Acoli

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