Political Prisoner Jalil Muntaqim Denied Parole - by Stephen Lendman
On November 18, Jalil Muntaqim (formerly Anthony Bottom) was refused parole a day after his November 17 hearing. The board called his record exemplary, but still denied him. Muntaqim thanked everyone who wrote letters of support and said he'll appeal the decision. Failing that, his next scheduled hearing is in June 2010. His earlier 2002, 2004 and 2006 hearings were also unsuccessful.
In a November 19 letter to supporters, he wrote as follows:
"The parole board ignored the overwhelming support from the community for my release, and denied me parole. I have come to the conclusion after this, my fourth parole appearance....that the parole system is not a fair and impartial decision making body. It is a political institution with a law enforcement agenda....incapable of being fair and impartial in cases where a police officer's death is involved....The judiciary generally supports the law enforcement agenda of the parole board."
To rectify this "double standard," he urged his supporters to:
-- "organize a coalition of progressive folks willing and able to concentrate on this issue;"
-- get the "religious/faith based community" on board;
-- challenge elected officials "for their refusal and failure to intervene....;" and
-- New York's "Governor Patterson must be told his choice of parole chairman and commissioners must reflect the desires of the community."
Short of these actions, nothing will reverse the "institutional repression and racism endemic (in) the NYS prison and parole system." Muntaqim is its longest-punished example, an innocent man kept imprisoned since 1971.
The freejalil.com web site calls him a "political prisoner & prisoner of war." Some history and background follows.
At age 19, he and Albert Nuh Washington were arrested in San Francisco on August 28, 1971, charged with the May 21, 1971 killings of two New York City police officers (Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini). Washington died in prison on April 28, 2000. In 1973, Herman Bell was also arrested and charged along with Gabriel and Francisco Torres. The two brothers were later acquitted for lack of evidence. Muntaqim, Washington and Bell became known as the New York Three.
The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. (odmp.org) said both patrolmen:
"were shot and killed in the 32nd Precinct when they were ambushed by members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA). (The) three suspects snuck up behind them and opened fire. Patrolman Jones was struck in the back of the head and killed instantly. Patrolman Piagentini was shot 13 times and succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital. (The BLA) was a violent, radical group....responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country. They were also responsible for violent attacks....that left many police officers wounded."
In a secret White House May 26, 1971 meeting, Richard Nixon, John Erlichman, FBI Director Herbert Hoover, and others named the murders "NEWKILL," (for New York killings). It's believed they decided to blame them on Black Panther Party (BPP) members as part of the COINTELPRO conspiracy to destroy them.
The first trial against the New York Five, including the Torres brothers, ended in a mistrial. The brothers were acquitted in a second 1975 one, but the New York Three were convicted of first degree murder, weapons possession, and conspiracy despite evidence shown to be inconsistent, fraudulent, and based on perjured testimonies.