“It has become the norm for prison officials to resist and retaliate against any protest I am either involved in or they think I am the organizing force behind,” says Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan.
According to Hasan, Officer Royko asked him about his involvement in various political movements. Hasan told the officer he was involved in Black Lives Matter and the Free Ohio Movement, which is an organization of prisoners, families and others who fight for justice in the Ohio prison system. Hasan also mentioned he had a history as a guest speaker on radio stations and at colleges, where he spoke about police brutality and mass incarceration.[Royko] wanted to know my name, what I was in prison for, and I told him, you know, “Cut the game, I mean that’s not why you came out here. I’m sure you did all that investigation before you came out here to see me.”Then he went on to say that he heard that I was supposed to be involved in some kind of national militant movement to blow up buildings, to harm people, and I said, “Somebody must be sending you on a wild goose chase, because there’s no such thing that’s actually happened.”
“What I tried to explain to them, which is truth, is that I’m involved in no radical movement that—not to my knowledge, unless someone is involved in some radicalism that I’m not aware,” Hasan wrote, adding, “Everything that I’m involved in is [a] peaceful movement trying to bring about revolutionary changes, and trying to bring about better conditions for prisoners, and trying to bring about emancipation and freedom from the case that I was erroneously convicted of, as a result of the Lucasville Uprising.”
Hasan ended the conversation by telling Royko, “Continue to listen to my phone calls, continue to read my mail, and exactly what I’m telling you, if you come to find out something otherwise, then you can come back and you can throw it in my face.
If Royko was unable to find anything, Hasan made it clear “we have nothing else further to talk about really.”
On August 9, the website, It’s Going Down, reported that Hasan had been removed from his cell and placed in isolation in a different cell. He was denied his property.
More than a week later, on August 18, the Ohio State Penitentiary Rules and Infraction Board (RIB) found Hasan guilty of violating Rule 59 of the Ohio Administrative Code for engaging in an act “knowingly done which constitutes a threat to the security of the institution, its staff, other inmates or to the acting inmate.”
The RIB report claimed a freelance imam named S. Ishmael, who leads classes and prayers at the prison, told officials Hasan had asked him to wear explosives into the prison.
“[Hasan] made the following comments. ‘You (referring to Imam Ismail) need to commit a suicide mission,'” the RIB report reads. “Imam Ismail stated that he did not understand what [Hasan] was trying to say. [Hasan] then described for the Imam, ‘You should put a belt/strap around his stomach/waist and commit a suicide mission.'”
The imam said Hasan made the request during a religious study on July 22. The imam allegedly reported it to the prison on August 1. Hasan was punished with a 30-day restriction of his phone and email use.
He questioned why the imam would wait nine days to report such a troubling request if it were real. “It’s absurd. But the [Rules / Infraction Board] process will never find somebody not guilty,” he said. “It’s a kangaroo court with very low standards of evidence.”
“They have effectively silenced him,” Turk said.
When asked why he is joining the September 9 strike, Hasan said, “My experiences in prison, especially within the last three decades, have taught me that the prison system sees prisoners as nothing more than commodities who are to be economically exploited for the benefit of prisoncrats, politicians, and their corporate friends and families.”
Hasan was one year from parole when the riot took place. “Of all the prisoners, he had the most to lose. Yet, it was perceived that he was the leader and the one responsible for directing the activities of the prisoners once the riot had begun,” his attorney wrote.
He was convicted and sentenced to death for his alleged role as a leader of the Lucasville rebellion.
“While this is a tall order for someone in my shoes to fill, I am one hundred percent committed and motivated to seeing this project through; therefore, it was easy for me to join this national action,” Hasan added.