Prisoners in Philadelphia

Jay Moore research at
Fri Aug 4 13:57:29 MDT 2000

                   Friday August 04, @06:40PM


                   By R2K Network

                      2K 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



                   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
with misdemeanors.

                   "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
                   environmental justice.^T

                   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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