Prisoners in Philadelphia
research at SPAMneravt.com
Fri Aug 4 13:57:29 MDT 2000
Friday August 04, @06:40PM
By R2K Network
August 4, 2000 Contacts: Paul Davis, ACT UP
Philadelphia, just released from jail, 215 280 7536 (cell) R2K
Legal: 215 925 6791 R2K Media: 215 545 1505
BRUTAL TREATMENT CONTINUES AGAINST JAILED PROTESTERS
UNPRECEDENTED CRACKDOWN HIGHLIGHTS SYSTEMATIC ATTACK ON
OF PEACEFUL PROTEST AND PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE
Philadelphia, PA ~ On the last day of the Republican
National Convention, in Philadelphia, the cradle of
democracy, police and federal authorities have
demonstrated a determination to undermine both the US
Constitution and people^Rs basic human rights.
Demonstrators continue to demand medical treatment, access to
lawyers, access to phones, and timely release. Outside,
solidarity actions continue, with rallies planned at
Franklin Park at 7 p.m.
Guards, police, and administrators continue to attack
protestors in jail, seeking to demoralize and divide.
Recently released prisoners have reported eyewitness
accounts of widespread abuse that can only be described
as torture. There are numerous accounts of arrestees who
have been isolated, verbally abused, punched, kicked,
thrown against walls, bloodied, and dragged naked across
floors, in one instance through a ^Qtrash trough^R
containing refuse, spittle and urine. There has been a
reported sexual assault by a female officer who pulled and
twisted a prisoner's penis. Seven witnesses saw one
woman dragged naked and bleeding. Diabetics, epileptics,
and asthmatics continue to be denied medication. Trauma
and psychological stress are evident.
Paul Davis, from ACT UP Philadelphia, reports his
eyewitness accounts of brutality inside the Philadelphia jail.
^SI saw a man handcuffed to his cell door in a
crucifixion position He groaned and bellowed for 20 minutes that
they were using metal handcuffs to smash his hands. I
heard women screaming and being dragged along the
floor. I saw a woman screaming in pain as a police
officer said, ^QYou want more?! You want more?!^R^T
Arrestees have now been held for over 60 hours without
arraignment, some without phone calls or contact with
their lawyers. Detainees report missing paperwork, and
arraignments with incomplete or slipshod records.
Philadelphia continues to restrict R2K Legal Committee
lawyers, allowing only a total of three lawyers access to
all six detention sites, and hundreds of defendants.
Prosecutors have set unprecedented high bail for non-violent
civil disobedience. Most bails range from $15,000 to
$30,000, while others are much higher. Two individuals
have bail of $1,000,000, an amount typically reserved
for serial killers, not community organizers, non-violence
training facilitators artists and puppet makers charged
"I consider this a civil rights catastrophe of the first
order," R2K Legal Committee counsel Ron McGuire stated.
^SThis is an attack on our 14th Amendment. An attack on
due process and reasonable bail.^T ^SThis is a
systematic political effort to undermine and destroy the
momentum of a growing movement for social and
R2K Legal has documented 381 confirmed arrests, not
including members of the International Action Center and
School of Americas Watch (15 more). Additionally, there
are people we have not heard from (we estimate up to
30), but due to restrictions on protester's access to
telephones, there is really no way to tell. Of these people,
approximately 60 have accepted "Release on Own
Recognizance" or "Signed On Bail.^T Prisoners are working
together to agree on and communicate their demands.
Solidarity tactics to demand their release include singing,
chanting, and story telling, along with a
150-person-strong hunger strike. Some have been on hunger strike for as
long as 56 hours. Three men have fasted without water
for 28 hours. Supporters are asked to phone Mayor John
Street at 215.686.2181 and demand the immediate release
of these political prisoners.
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