Sunday, March 7, 2010

April 4 - Easter/Passover and 30th Anniversary of Carlos Alberto Torres' incarceration

Dear Friends,

This Easter Day and Passover Week coincide with the 30th anniversary of Carlos' Alberto Torres' arrest. Please join IPOC both in observing and inviting other organizations and communities of faith and conscience to observe this significant moment in the quest for freedom for him and for and his imprisoned compatriots, Oscar López Rivera and Avelino González Claudio.

Thank you for your support and solidarity!

In struggle and hope,

Nozomi Ikuta

Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project
PO Box 770608
Lakewood, OH 44107
216 624-6781

Steering Committee:

Rev. Dr. C. Nozomi Ikuta, Rev. Sala Nolan Gonzales, Toby Emmer, Dr. Diane Fujino, Alejandro Molina, Irma Romero

March 1, 2010

This year, on Sunday, April 4, as Christians celebrate Easter and Jews celebrate Passover, Carlos Alberto Torres will complete 30 years in prison for acts and beliefs in favor of Puerto Rican independence. Carlos has served more time in prison than Nelson Mandela had in South Africa; he is also the longest-held political prisoner in Puerto Rican history and among the longest-held political prisoners in the world.

When Carlos sought release on parole in 1994, the Parole Commission denied his request and said they would consider his case after he served an additional 15 years. That hearing was set for January of 2009. The week before his scheduled hearing, prison officials claimed to find home-made knives in a light fixture in the ten man cell they assigned him to. The hearing was postponed.

One of the cell occupants took sole responsibility for the knives, swearing that he hid them from Carlos and the others cell occupants, and that they knew nothing about them. Yet, deviating from routine disciplinary practice, Carlos and the others were all found guilty of possessing the knives. Fortunately, Carlos’ administrative appeal resulted in the dismissal of the charges.

Carlos finally had his parole hearing on May 26, 2009, and was recommended for release.

Inexplicably, the false charges were reinstated a month later.

In a subsequent parole hearing, in January of 2010, another hearing examiner again recommended his release.

We support the hearing examiners' recommendations to release Carlos from prison and look forward to welcoming him home.

In 1999, President Clinton heeded the call of people in the US and Puerto Rico who had united in calling for the release of Carlos and the other Puerto Rican political prisoners. Now, more than ten years later, we are renewing our call for Carlos to rejoin his friends, families, and communities, and our society as a whole.

As we approach the Easter and Passover holidays, we encourage all people of conscience to sign the call for his release, to take part in the April 3 observances of the 30th anniversary of his arrest, and to raise additional prayers for him throughout Passover, on Easter, April 4, and on other significant moments appropriate to their faith tradition. Our prayers are also with Carlos’ imprisoned compatriots, Oscar López Rivera and Avelino González Claudio.

In this season of reconciliation and new beginnings, it is time for Carlos to begin his new life with us. It is time for him to come home.

United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286
Re: Carlos Alberto Torres,
88976-024, FCI Pekin

Dear Commissioners:

We write to urge you to adopt the recommendation of your hearing examiner and order the release of Carlos Alberto Torres.

We believe that there is no reason for the intervening disciplinary charges to adversely affect your decision. Not only has Carlos maintained an impeccable disciplinary record for 29 years; but the person responsible for possessing the hidden weapons confessed, telling the prison disciplinary committee that Carlos knew nothing about the weapons.

There is no risk in ordering his release. He enjoys wide support from the whole of civil society in Puerto Rico, and his co-defendants have accumulated an impressive record of support and respect in the ten years since their release.

We urge you to order his release as recommended. We are anxious to welcome Carlos home after three long decades behind bars.

Printed Name
City, State, Zip Code

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