By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Jan 10, 2008 10:57 PM
The Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) in Youngstown, Ohio, holds 539 people behind its brick walls, multiple barbed wire fences and iron bars. It is within this dungeon that four of the men known as the Lucasville Five are incarcerated: Bomani Shakur, Adbullah Hasan, Jason Robb and Namir Abdul Mateen. These men are held in a special section of OSP’s death row, awaiting lethal injection for the crime of participating in a rebellion.
It has been nearly 15 years since the prisoners at Lucasville, in southern Ohio, rebelled and took control of the place in which they were imprisoned. The prisoners encaged in Lucasville rebelled against the brutality, the corruption and the degradation they endured on a daily basis.
In the insurrection that ensued groups like the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Gangsta Disciples and Sunni Muslims put aside their differences and fought together. They became a “convict race,” as a slogan the prisoner-rebels wrote upon the walls proclaimed.
The prisoners succeeded in negotiating a 21-point agreement that the warden was forced to sign. But afterwards, with a total lack of evidence, the government put five men on death row. They are held in tiny rooms smaller than a parking space for 23 hours a day, and then taken to a cage for the mandated one hour outside of their cells. When they have visitors, they are not permitted even to touch them, and can only see their loved ones through a screen.
It is in this light that the Cleveland Lucasville Five Defense Committee, the Youngstown Prisoners Forum Group, Loved Ones of Prisoners, and CURE-Ohio have called for a demonstration right in front of the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio. The demonstration is called for Jan. 19, the weekend on which the life of Martin Luther King is celebrated.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought against racism and injustice all his life and was murdered by his racist enemies. This demonstration will be a continuation of his legacy. On Jan. 19, at 12:00, people will gather at the St. Augustine Episcopal Church. They will protest and raise their voices against injustices. Then, they plan to take a car caravan into the prison itself and deliver a letter of petition to the warden, demanding that the prisoners on death row have the ability to touch the ones they love that Ohio denies them during contact visits.
The organizers call on all who can to be there to demand justice. Free the Lucasville Five! Full Contact Rights for Death Row Prisoners! Overturn all the Lucasville Convictions! It is right to rebel, Free the Lucasville Five Now!
For location addresses, van reservations from Cleveland or other information, call (216) 481-6671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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