- A previous article discussed his case, accessed through
the following link:
- For centuries in America, mass incarceration has been
used for social control. In the 1600s, laws distinguished Blacks from Whites.
Slavery existed until 1865. After the 13th Amendment abolished it, Blacks,
like other people of color, were still denied due process. They still are,
victimized by prosecutorial harshness, judicial unfairness, repressive
drug laws, get tough on crime policies, guilt by accusation, three strikes
and you're out, and poverty preventing a competent defense.
- Muntaqim, formerly Anthony Bottom, is one of many thousands
of victims, wrongfully imprisoned since 1971 for a crime he didn't commit.
- At age 19, he and Albert Nuh Washington were arrested
in San Francisco on August 28, 1971, charged with the May 21, 1971 killings
of two New York City police officers (Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini).
On April 28, 2000, Washington died in prison. In 1973, Herman Bell was
also arrested and charged along with Gabriel and Francisco Torres. The
two brothers were later acquitted for lack of evidence. Muntaqim, Washington
and Bell became known as the New York Three.
- After a mistrial, they were convicted in 1975 of first
degree murder, weapons possession, and conspiracy despite inconsistent
fraudulent evidence, based on perjured testimonies and a deal between prosecutors
and a key witness.
- The entire process mocked justice. Disclosed COINTELPRO
documents named them as Black Liberation Army (BLA) and Black Panther Party
(BPP) members. They were targeted to be "neutralized" for their
activism against injustice, a war raging today against Muslims and others
challenging political and economic unfairness.
- Muntaqim's legal challenges were denied. So were his
2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009 parole requests despite his innocence, exemplary
prison record, and community support. Imprisoned for nearly 40 years, systemic
injustice may let him die there, guilty of being poor, Black, and politically
activist for justice, making everyone like him vulnerable.
- Periodically and more recently, he's been unfairly harassed.
Last summer, he was isolated for two weeks on false contraband charges.
He also lost his Honor Block privileges. As a result, he filed a grievance,
seeking reconsideration of his case. Harassment followed.
- He was denied for not supplying required documents to
the superintendent, the accused correctional officer, and state attorney
general despite proof he properly sent them. In fact, his mail wasn't delivered,
willfully sabotaging his challenge.
- On December 30, four correctional officers harassed him
while trying to make a phone call. They performed a full body search, ordered
a urine sample, took height and weight measurements, and delayed him long
enough for others to trash his cell. On return, it was in disarray.
- A 72-hour investigation followed. No explanation why
was given. On January 3, heading to drafting class, a guard stopped him
under orders to deny him entry, sending him back to his block. Deputy superintendent
security orders then prohibited his entering school premises and participating
in Friday religious services. At issue is why a man with an exemplary prison
record is being investigated and harassed.
- Muntaqim is a student and instructor, teaching weekly
poetry classes. Though uncharged, he's gotten no information why an investigation
was undertaken. Nonetheless, he's been locked down and denied access to
important prison areas because he dared challenge false charges.
- Clearly, authorities want to grind him down, wear him
out, and let him rot in prison until he dies, another innocent man denied
justice, another important voice silenced.
- He can be reached at the following address:
- Anthony Bottom
- No. 77a4283
- Auburn Correctional Facility
- 135 State Street
- Auburn, NY 13042
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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