Saturday, March 05, 2011

Oscar Lopez moves forward with parole appeal process

Right the Wrong:

An Update on the Humanitarian Campaign for Oscar López Rivera’s Release

People of conscience throughout the world were
outraged by news that the U.S. Parole Commission
refused to parole Puerto Rican political prisoner
Oscar López Rivera after close to 30 years in
prison for his support of Puerto Rican
independence. Thousands of people, including
members of U.S. Congress, religious leaders,
artists, scholars, and community members support his immediate release.

The Parole Commission's inhumane decision, issued
on February 18, ignored both the specifics of
Oscar's case and the broad-based international
humanitarian support for his immediate release.
The Commission, basing its unjust decision on
falsehoods and inaccuracies, ruled that Oscar
must remain in prison another 15 years or until
the duration of his sentence, whichever comes first.

Though this represents a significant setback, the
National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) has
no doubt the campaign for Oscar's freedom will be
victorious. The Puerto Rican people and their
allies have succeeded in winning the release of
three generations of political prisoners, an
unparalleled accomplishment. This campaign will be no different.

After consulting with Oscar and the campaign for
his release, his attorney will ask the Parole
Commission to reconsider its wrongheaded ruling.
Activists and leaders from the U.S., Puerto Rico
and abroad have started to aggressively plan and
launch the next phase of the campaign.

NBHRN urges supporters to once again express
their support for Oscar's freedom. There are many
ways to contribute to this campaign:

· Sign and circulate the new letter of
support for Oscar's release as part of the parole appeal process; (below)

· Call the U.S. Parole Commission to ask
them to order his immediate release; (below)

· Organize discussions and events in your home, community, and university;

· Donate to the campaign (every cent helps the message travel further)’

· Attend events, petition drives, and other NBHRN organizing activities;

· Join your local NBHRN chapter or help start one in your city;

· Write Oscar and share your support for him and his release.

Thanks to small and large contributions, we hope
Oscar will soon rejoin his family, community and
nation. Freedom and justice can only be
momentarily " but never permanently " deferred.

For more information, contact Alejandro Luis


Isaac Fulwood, Jr., Chair via facsimile 301/492-5543

United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815

Re: Oscar López Rivera, 87651-024, FCI Terre Haute

Dear Chairman Fulwood, and Commissioners Mitchell, Cushwa and Wilson Smoot:

We write to ask you to reconsider your decision
to deny parole to Oscar López Rivera, who is
serving a 70 year sentence for his commitment to
the independence of Puerto Rico. The U.S. Parole
Commission has likely never had a case similar to
his, with such overwhelming evidence to warrant granting immediate parole.

In what other case has an entire nation, in one
united voice, supported parole, as Puerto Rico did here?

In what other case has a president of the United
States already declared that the sentence was
disproportionate, and that he should have been released by September of 2009?

In what other case have 11 co-defendants
accumulated eleven years of exemplary conduct after their release?

In what other case has the very same Parole
Commission granted early termination of conditions to those co-defendants?

In what other case has the very same Parole
Commission granted parole to the only other
remaining co-defendant, only six months before
the hearing in this case, after he served 30 years in prison?

In what other case has the Commission received
tens of thousands of letters of support,
including from so many elected officials, clergy
and religious organizations, legal and human
rights groups, and people who seek justice?

In what other case has the Commission had such
conclusive proof meeting the criteria for release?

Yet, you ruled that because of several factors,
his "release on parole would promote disrespect
for the law," apparently ceding to forces opposed
to his parole, who insist that he is responsible
for a 1975 New York City bombing for which he was
neither accused nor convicted, and in which he did not participate.

We ask you to reconsider what promotes disrespect
for the law. The effect of your ruling is that
this 68 year old decorated Vietnam veteran, with
a distinguished record of service to his
community, will be required to serve 45 years
behind bars, when he was not convicted of harming
anyone or taking a life ­ in other words, cruel
and unusual punishment. No other country in the
world holds people in prison for almost half a century.

It is not too late for you to fulfill your
mission, "to promote public safety and to strive
for justice and fairness in the exercise of
[your] authority to release and supervise
offenders under [your] jurisdiction," by ordering
the immediate parole of Mr. López Rivera.

Very truly yours,

Parole Board Phone call-in script

9-5 EST until further notice

US Parole Board phone: (301) 492-5990Hit 0 to speak to operator.

Sample script is below.

Hi, I’m calling for the release of Oscar López #
87651-024 and I live in Chicago [NY, etc.]

The Parole Commission should reconsider its order
denying him parole, and grant him immediate parole.


1) Oscar has the support of a broad sector of
Puerto Rico's civil society as well as Puerto
Rican/Latino communities and those who support
human rights throughout the United States.

2) Oscar was not accused or convicted of causing
injury or taking a life. He was never accused or
convicted of participating in the 1975 Fraunces
Tavern bombing or any other action that resulted in injury or death.

3) President Clinton's determination that Mr.
López Rivera’s sentence was disproportionately
lengthy, and his offer that would have resulted
in Mr. López Rivera’s release in September of 2009.

Coordinating Committee
National Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622
twitter: olrcat

Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos

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