Category Archives: Prisoner News
27.07.19: Last week in Sofia, Bulgaria, 32-year-old anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman was denied parole on his 20-year prison sentence for murder. Jock was convicted in 2009 of the stabbing murder of Andrei Monov and the attempted murder of Anton Zahariev. The death occurred after Jock went to the aid of two Roma boys who were being attacked by a racist gang in Sofia in December 2007; he has now spent over 11 years behind bars as a result. All appeals against the conviction and sentence — along with attempts to convince Bulgarian authorities to allow him to serve the rest of his sentence in Australia — have failed, and it seems likely that Jock will not be released until the full 20-year sentence has been served.
Coming to terms with serving such a lengthy sentence in a foreign country is obviously a difficult matter, but during the course of his incarceration Jock has remained politically-active. Thus Jock has been an outspoken prisoners’ rights advocate throughout his term and in 2012 Jock was instrumental in establishing the ‘Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association’ (BPRA), the first organisation of its kind in the country. In 2015 he was even nominated for a human rights award for his work in this field. Despite operating within a very hostile political environment, Jock’s work and that of the BPRA has nonetheless won recognition and support by some outside Sofia prison’s walls, and it’s hoped that reform within the prison system might be accompanied by positive changes outside of it — as unlikely as that may presently seem.
24.07.19: Comrade Alfredo Cospito started feeling unwell 15 days ago, right after his hunger strike ended. He immediately insisted on a CT scan. In fact, as soon as the CT scan was carried out, he was urgently transferred to the hospital where he was operated on. The operation went for 5 hours as they had to remove his gallbladder, which had ruptured. All this because the doctors had been saying for months that it was necessary to operate, but the prison kept postponing, trying to solve the problem with tablets, which in reality did not solve anything. The situation got worse with the hunger strike.
Alfredo’s family only learned of his transfer to hospital and the operation four days later. A week after the operation he was transferred back to prison. At visits he was very physically exhausted, in a wheelchair and very thin.
During his hospital stay he was placed in a room with an armored door, cameras and at least three guards at all times, with nothing – no books or a clock, losing track of time passing. After three days he managed to get some books he had back in the prison.
Three days ago a call from Alfredo’s lawyer informed his family that he had again been transferred to the hospital for intensive surgery. After leaving hospital the first time Alfredo developed an infection of the pancreas caused by a cyst that had started to spread. Now the situation is stable and improving. Alfredo is in good spirits.
This time the doctors have declared that they will not discharge him until he is completely healed.
It is clear that his return to prison after the first operation was hastened because the prison authorities consider him to be dangerous and they were paranoid about a possible escape attempt. So the doctors were pressured into releasing him early.
Now he has some books, but we are trying to make sure that he gets mail and a change of clothes at the hospital, he has been wearing the same clothes for days and he has had to wash them himself, keeping the drip on one arm and using his other arm to wash.
More updates soon.
On Wednesday, 24.07, anarchist comrades Christos and Gerasimos Tsakalos, members of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire were released. The comrades were originally convicted with sentences of over 70 years, which were reduced to 20. The comrades made use of the Paraskevopoulos law that was introduced by the previous SYRIZA-led government and were released after having served 8 years of their 20 year sentences.
Gerasimos Tsakalos was arrested with his friend and comrade Panagiotis Argyros on November 1, 2010. Their arrests took place after a parcel bomb was sent to a courier company in Pagrati. Five months later, Christos Tsakalos was arrested in a coordinated counter-terrorism operation.
After their arrests they claimed full responsibility for their actions and proclaimed themselves “proud members of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire”. During their imprisonment in Korydallos prison, the CCF claimed responsibility for Phoenix Project actions, including the bombing of the Prison Director’s car as well as sending a parcel bomb to the former head of the anti-terrorism unit, Dimitris Chorianopoulos.
(information compiled from various Greek language sources)
Anarchist political prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo was released from prison on July 12 after more than 4 years and 8 months. Sotelo was arbitarily detained while protesting for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students. The comrade burned his prison uniform after being released.
His detention was irregular; the judicial process never managed to prove his participation in the action that was prosecuted judicially. Despite this, the prosecutor for capital injustice kept him in custody. With an initial sentence of 33 years and despite all the inconsistencies of the process, they dismantled the lies of the government and thereby lowered the sentence.
It was thanks to his resistance, courage and knowledge of his innocence that he remained firm in his struggle. Many compañeras and compañeros joined his fight for freedom, among them the compañeras that made up the Luis Fernado Free Committee! who came every week to visit him in the Southern Prison.
Organizations such as the Popular Organization Francisco Villa de Izquierda Independiente, Weaving Revolutionary Organization, the comrades of the Vendaval cooperative, Street Brigade, organizations and collectives that fight together with the Indigenous Council of Government and support the EZLN, comrades who fight in the anti-prison movement, the CGT of the Spanish State, Zapata Vive coffee, among many others, participated in the meetings held in the courts, in the SCJN and in the marches called to demand his release.
Finally, this July 12, the comrade Luis Fernando left the Southern Prison in the company of his family and comrades who sang, hurled slogans and embraced him to welcome him.
After hugging his family, the comrade burned the uniform he had to wear in these years and gave a message of thanks to the organizations and compañerxs present and recalled that there are still many political prisoners in the country, inviting them to keep fighting for their release.
Down with the walls of the prisons!
FREEDOM for political prisoners!
We support political prisoners in Iran: Neda Naji is a student, labor rights defender, and actor, who played the Russian Anarchist Valentia in the Iranian documentary drama Emma Goldman: Living My Life. On May 1, 2019, Naji and more than fifty other participants including Marzieh Amiri, Anisha Asadollahi, and Atefeh Rangriz were arrested at a Labour Day demonstration and detained by security forces and have not been released
According to a non-political woman prisoner in Qarchak Prison (also known as Shahr-e Rey prison) in Eastern Tehran, two of the political prisoners—Naji and Rangriz—were beaten for not wearing veils (chador/hijab) on July 6, 2019. As a result of this violent attack, Naji suffered injuries to her head and eyes, and Rangriz suffered injuries to her shoulder and leg. They were transferred to the health ward but returned to their cells without adequate treatment. Jamal Ameli, Neda Naji’s husband, wrote on his Twitter account: “Head Officials in Evin Prison are not responding to questions from Neda Naji’s family about her condition. Neda and Atefeh are in danger within Qarchak Prison and nobody hears our voices.”
In addition, a number of others, including Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadifard, and Sanaz Allahyari, who provided news coverage of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane and Ahvaz Steel worker protests have also been imprisoned. Amir Hoseein Mohammadifard and Sanaz Allahyari have been on hunger strike since July 4, 2019. Esmail Bakhshi, leader of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran, who was freed after being brutally tortured was arrested three weeks after his release for publishing an account of the torture he experienced in prison. Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, the student journalist covering the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane worker protest, are still in prison. 34-year-old blogger, Soheil Arabi, an Anarcho-Syndicalist political prisoner, has been on hunger strike in protest of horrible prison conditions and lack of security for prisoners since June 15, 2019. Arabi has been banned from making purchases from the prison commissary.
(original Persian source) – Asranarshism)
Anarchist comrade Cedar Hopperton has been released after spending nearly a month in jail for allegedly violating their parole conditions after giving a speech arguing that police should not be part of the queer community and applauding those at Pride who stood up to the police and fascists.
Despite the fact that they weren’t at Pride, Cedar spent weeks in jail in a clear case of retaliation by the Hamilton police against Cedar for expressing their anarchist convictions. Cedar went on hunger strike after their arrest, and the queer and anarchist communities of Hamilton mobilized in their support.
The Tower, an anarchist social space in Hamilton, posted on Facebook Tuesday that Cedar was free, along with a photo of Cedar holding a “Free Cedar” poster.
“The rumours are true, and this time it’s a good thing — Cedar is free!” The Tower said. “A statement with more details is forthcoming.”
Asaf Rashid, Cedar’s lawyer in the parole board challenge, confirmed that Cedar was released in relation to some credited time around their incarceration. Cedar was initially due to be released at the end of July.
The parole board dismissed the false claim by Hamilton police that Cedar was at Pride.
Cedar’s release is a victory for the anarchist movement in Hamilton and beyond and a defeat for the oppressive Hamilton police force.