Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hasan: 'Our struggles are the same'

Interview with Hasan, published in Worker's World, Nov 21, 2007 

Below is the third and final portion of an interview with political prisoner Siddique Abdullah Hasan conducted by mail by Martha Grevatt of Workers World Party and the Cleveland Lucasville 5 Defense Committee. The first two portions of the interview were published in the March 29 and Nov. 11 issues of Workers World.

MG: How does the struggle behind the walls tie in with the overall struggle of the anti-war, anti-racist, women’s, labor, gay rights and general progressive movement?

Hasan: That depends on the mindset of the people behind the walls. Understandably, many prisoners are concerned only with their own release, and will forget about solidarity and the struggle against oppression, persecution and exploitation the moment they are free. Others—like Mumia, Kunta Kenyatta, Ali Khalid Abdullah and Isa Abdur-Rasheed, aka Dennis S. Boatwright—have a broader view. They view both struggles as inseparable because the same capitalistic and racist government that is exploiting prisoners is also guilty of exploiting those outside the walls. The sooner those on the outside realize this, the sooner they will be inclined to establish bonds with those of us behind the walls. Let no one fool you, our struggles are the same!

MG: Is it part of the struggle against capitalism?

Hasan: Absolutely yes. Historically, a society that places private profit ahead of all other goals has been an important source of violence against poor persons. In 18th-century England, a child could be executed for stealing a pocket handkerchief. In the United States, slaves and free Blacks have historically been beaten and killed for similar trivial offenses, such as dropping a dish while served at the “master’s table” or whistling at a young white woman, as in the case of Emmett Till.

MG: What is the current status of your case?

Hasan: My case is in the federal district court before Magistrate Judge (MJ) Michael Merz. The MJ had made recommendations to Judge Susan Dlott that my request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing be denied. However, after a friend of the court brief was filed by Attorney Staughton Lynd and Jeffrey Gamso, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, convincingly outlining my actual innocence, and after my federal attorneys, Laurence E. Komp and Alan M. Freedman, filed an excellent motion opposing the recommendations, the MJ tried to recommit the case back to himself. But we opposed it because he had already lost jurisdiction once he made his critical recommendations. In sum, we did not wish to render him another opportunity to critique our work. He had already denied our motions for discovery and an evidentiary hearing on four separate occasions.

Seeing that there were eye-raising and possibly meritorious issues in my case, Judge Dlott remanded it. Thereafter, the MJ granted us ample time to file an additional briefing, which we completed on Feb. 15. The attorney general’s office is now due to submit its filing opposing ours. We eagerly await their filing.

MG: What can activists do to help?

Hasan: Those truly wanting to help can purchase a copy of Lynd’s book, “Lucasville: the Untold Story of a Prison Uprising,” at

They can also contact the following groups for contact names, phone numbers and e-mails of people who can provide more information and/or speak to the media:

Campaign to End the Death Penalty—Toledo Chapter, Free Siddique Abdullah Hasan Coalition, P.O. Box 20011, Toledo, OH 43610, 419-514-7634,

Cleveland Lucasville 5 Defense Committee, P.O. Box 5963, Cleveland, OH 44101, 216-481-6671,

To find out about forming a Lucasville 5 defense committee in your city, call the Cleveland number.

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