Please Call Augusta State Prison And Ask Them To Not Amputate This Man's Foot! (UPDATED!!)
Hello Wonkers! How would you like to feel like you're doing something good today without even having to leave the comfort of your scratched-up pleather La-Z-Boy? Well, the Anarchist Black Cross wants YOU to call Augusta State Prison and ask them to please not amputate the foot of prisoner Kamau Sadiki, whose daughter says he only needs a wound specialist. And so am I, because that is freaking horrifying.
Kamau Sadiki, formerly known as Freddie Hilton, is a former member of the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panthers who was convicted in 2003 of the 30-year-old murder of Officer James Richard Greene. Sadiki has maintained his innocence, and his supporters believe he is innocent and a political prisoner -- and that the real reason he is being held in prison is because he won't help police apprehend Assata Shakur, with whom he shares a child.
Here is what the late Safiya Bukhari, another former BLA member/ Black Panther (whom you may recall from efforts to free Mumia Abu-Jamal) and Claude Marks wrote about his case at FreeKamau.com:
In 2001, following increased interest in terrorism, one such former BLA member gave a statement about the 1971 murder after being detained during a traffic stop. With no eyewitness testimony and no physical evidence, the State based its case entirely upon the statements of three former BLA members who were present in Atlanta at the time of Officer Green's murder. Mr. Sadiki was arrested in 2002 in Brooklyn, New York some thirty one (31) years later after the murder.[...]
Among the many issues raised in his appeal, Mr. Sadiki is urging the court to reconsider her exclusion of the testimony of John Thomas' former wife, Ignae Thomas, wherein she was present during two conversations where others admitted their participation in the murder of the officer. Mr. Thomas who is now deceased, made statements exonerating Mr. Sadiki and stated that he had nothing to do with the shooting.[...]
The government and police, knowing that he suffers from Hepatitis C, Cirrhosis of the Liver and Sarcoidosis they told Kamau that unless he helped them capture Assata Shakur that he would "die in prison." The police told Kamau that if he worked with them and "got Assata to leave Cuba" and go to some other country where they could apprehend her that they would not prosecute on the false police killing charge. Kamau's two daughters and grandchildren are devasted by the absense of their loving, hard-working father (he supported them by working for the telephone company in New York for over eighteen years), and are active in efforts to release him.
There isn't exactly a ton of information available on his case online, the way there is with Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Without a clear picture of what actually went on, without transcripts, without contemporary reports? I can't say for a fact if he is innocent or guilty. Though I would hardly put it past Georgia police to frame a Black Panther for murder -- and with a case that old? Let's just say I have my suspicions. I'd like to think that if such an arrest/conviction happened now, there would be more information available and it would be more heavily scrutinized than it was in 2001 when he was initially arrested.
What I do know, for sure, is that no one should have their foot amputated without their consent, and certainly not if there is literally anything else that can be done. What I do know is that a lot of incredibly fucked up stuff goes on in US prisons and jails and it's not talked about nearly enough. There's not enough transparency.
This kind of thing, by the way, is what the term "daylight is the best disinfectant" actually refers to -- not to poorly conducted interviews with neo-Nazis that focus primarily on their snazzy outfits.
So please, take a moment and call 706.855.4700. They'll probably just send you to voicemail like they did with me every day this week (even when I said I write for Wonkette!), but prisons need to know that if they try do this kind of thing to people, it's not going to be swept under the rug. They need to know they are being watched.
Thank you all so much for calling!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse