Prison

1 December 2019News in Brief

Mark Ovland (36) was arrested during the XR actions in London in April, and again in October. He was one of those arrested for standing on a Tube train at Canning Town.

He refused bail, so Mark is being held at least until 16 December when he appears at the Inner London crown court for a different trial. You can write to Mark (your email will be passed on): writetomark.xr@protonmail.com

1 December 2019News

Doctors fear for Assange's health

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day, when activists are encouraged to write to people imprisoned around the world for refusing to fight or for campaigning against war.

This year, we have highlighted the imprisonment of US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At risk

As we went to press, there were reports that Julian Assange’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

More than 60 doctors wrote an open letter…

1 October 2019Comment

Bruce Kent reflects on prisons, peace and justice for all

I must have passed through Reading station dozens of times in recent years on my way to Wales or the West Country. It always gives me a twinge when the train comes into the station from London.

Once one could see clearly the large red brick lump of Reading Gaol. Why a twinge? Because I always remember that it was the place of Oscar Wilde’s incarceration. The Ballad of Reading Gaol goes on for many verses but the first is quite enough to move me:

I know not…

1 April 2019Feature

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

1 June 2018News in Brief

‘June 11’ is the name of a US-based anarchist support group for long-term political prisoners around the world. Most of them have been imprisoned for violent crimes. While PN readers are likely to strongly disagree with their methods, this is an opportunity to offer comfort and solidarity to people in very difficult conditions.

If you do write, it’s suggested that you write about your day-to-day life, and what you are passionate about, and put your address on both the envelope and…

1 December 2017News in Brief

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. Please consider writing a cheerful, non-hero-worship postcard to someone on the WRI list:
www.tinyurl.com/peacenews2682

For example, a South Korean conscientious objector who was jailed in July and who will be freed on 30 September 2018:
Park Sang-wook #1315, Gosan-dong, Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi-do, 11797, Republic of Korea.

1 June 2017News

PN & friends celebrate release of US whistleblower

PHOTO: Emma Sangster

The Peace News/Housmans Bookshop ‘Chelsea Manning Freedom Party’ had people crowding into the bookshop on 17 May to eat cake and hear trans women Kirsten and Mika; Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace; and others.

1 June 2017News

Prosecution part of sustained attack on human rights group

On 17 May, a British Muslim human rights campaigner was charged with a terrorism offence for refusing to give police the passwords to his laptop and his mobile phone.

Muhammad Rabbani, international director of the London-based human rights group CAGE, was detained and questioned at Heathrow airport in November under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

He refused to surrender his passwords on the grounds that his devices contained confidential testimony relating to torture.…

1 December 2016News in Brief

Please send a card (in an envelope) for 1 December Peace Prisoners Day! Please do include a return name and address on the envelope. Also: avoid writing anything that might get the prisoner into trouble.

You could write to Chelsea E Manning 89289, 1300 North Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth Kansas 66027-2304, USA.

War Resisters International have lots of addresses: 020 7278 4040;
www.wri-irg.org/node/4718

1 October 2016News in Brief

On 13 September, military whistle-blower Chelsea Manning finally won the right to be given gender reassignment therapy, five days after she started a hunger strike. This will be the first time a trans prisoner in the US has received this treatment.

Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, commented: ‘This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea. It was the government’s refusal to provide her with necessary care that led her to attempt suicide…

1 October 2016News in Brief

The US bureau of prisons will end the use of private prisons over the next five years, the US justice department announced on 18 August.

The change comes after the racism of the criminal justice system has been pushed to near the top of the political agenda by the Black Lives Matter movement; after powerful investigative reporting by the Nation and other journals; and after a damning 11 August report by the inspector general of the justice department, which found that ‘in most key…

1 December 2015Review

Veterans of Hope Project, 2015; 76pp; $8.99

Described by Cornel West as a ‘secular bible for a new social movement’, Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book The New Jim Crow argued that the US prison system – the destination for one-in-three Black US males during their lifetime, compared with one-in-17 of their white contemporaries – had become ‘a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control’, functioning in a manner ‘strikingly similar to Jim Crow’ – the system of government-sanctioned racial…

15 April 2015Blog entry

'Our fear and isolation from each other, aiming to get a step up above our neighbours, our reluctance to live in a shared world, may be worse than the other storms we face.' Long-time US peace activist Kathy Kelly writes from inside prison.

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. 'I love storms,' said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, Kentucky's federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: 'It's over now, It's over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now.'

I awoke the next morning feeling confused and bewildered. Why had the guards counted us so many…

31 March 2015News in Brief

On 18 March, Yorkshire peace activist Sylvia Boyes, 72, was sentenced to 14 days in New Hall prison for not paying a fine arising from an anti-arms trade protest.

Sylvia had been fined £100 and ordered to pay £340 court costs after being found guilty of obstructing the highway at the defence and security equipment international (DSEI) arms fair in East London in September 2013.

31 March 2015Feature

A letter from a US prison

‘That is also us, the possibility of us, if the wonderful accident of our birth had taken place elsewhere: you could be the refugee, I could be the torturer. To face that truth is also our burden. After all, each of us has been the bystander, the reasonable person who just happens not to hear, not to speak, not to see those people, the invisible ones, those who live on the other side of the border.’
Karen Connelly, The Lizard Cage

It was a little…