Saturday, March 06, 2010

April 4 - Easter/Passover and 30th Anniversary of Carlos Alberto Torres' incarceration

Dear Friends,

This Easter Day and Passover Week coincide with
the 30th anniversary of Carlos' Alberto Torres'
arrest. Please join IPOC both in observing and
inviting other organizations and communities of
faith and conscience to observe this significant
moment in the quest for freedom for him and for
and his imprisoned compatriots, Oscar López
Rivera and Avelino González Claudio.

Thank you for your support and solidarity!

In struggle and hope,

Nozomi Ikuta

Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project
PO Box 770608
Lakewood, OH 44107

216 624-6781

Steering Committee:

Rev. Dr. C. Nozomi Ikuta, Rev. Sala Nolan
Gonzales, Toby Emmer, Dr. Diane Fujino, Alejandro
Molina, Irma Romero

March 1, 2010

This year, on Sunday, April 4, as Christians
celebrate Easter and Jews celebrate Passover,
Carlos Alberto Torres will complete 30 years in
prison for acts and beliefs in favor of Puerto
Rican independence. Carlos has served more time
in prison than Nelson Mandela had in South
Africa; he is also the longest-held political
prisoner in Puerto Rican history and among the
longest-held political prisoners in the world.

When Carlos sought release on parole in 1994, the
Parole Commission denied his request and said
they would consider his case after he served an
additional 15 years. That hearing was set for
January of 2009. The week before his scheduled
hearing, prison officials claimed to find
home-made knives in a light fixture in the ten
man cell they assigned him to. The hearing was postponed.

One of the cell occupants took sole
responsibility for the knives, swearing that he
hid them from Carlos and the others cell
occupants, and that they knew nothing about them.
Yet, deviating from routine disciplinary
practice, Carlos and the others were all found
guilty of possessing the knives. Fortunately,
Carlos’ administrative appeal resulted in the dismissal of the charges.

Carlos finally had his parole hearing on May 26,
2009, and was recommended for release.

Inexplicably, the false charges were reinstated a month later.

In a subsequent parole hearing, in January of
2010, another hearing examiner again recommended his release.

We support the hearing examiners' recommendations
to release Carlos from prison and look forward to welcoming him home.

In 1999, President Clinton heeded the call of
people in the US and Puerto Rico who had united
in calling for the release of Carlos and the
other Puerto Rican political prisoners. Now, more
than ten years later, we are renewing our call
for Carlos to rejoin his friends, families, and
communities, and our society as a whole.

As we approach the Easter and Passover holidays,
we encourage all people of conscience to sign the
call for his release, to take part in the April 3
observances of the 30th anniversary of his
arrest, and to raise additional prayers for him
throughout Passover, on Easter, April 4, and on
other significant moments appropriate to their
faith tradition. Our prayers are also with
Carlos’ imprisoned compatriots, Oscar López
Rivera and Avelino González Claudio.

In this season of reconciliation and new
beginnings, it is time for Carlos to begin his
new life with us. It is time for him to come home.

United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420

Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286

Re: Carlos Alberto Torres,
88976-024, FCI Pekin

Dear Commissioners:

We write to urge you to adopt the recommendation
of your hearing examiner and order the release of Carlos Alberto Torres.

We believe that there is no reason for the
intervening disciplinary charges to adversely
affect your decision. Not only has Carlos
maintained an impeccable disciplinary record for
29 years; but the person responsible for
possessing the hidden weapons confessed, telling
the prison disciplinary committee that Carlos knew nothing about the weapons.

There is no risk in ordering his release. He
enjoys wide support from the whole of civil
society in Puerto Rico, and his co-defendants
have accumulated an impressive record of support
and respect in the ten years since their release.

We urge you to order his release as recommended.
We are anxious to welcome Carlos home after three long decades behind bars.


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