Monday, January 31, 2011

HRC Calls for Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera


U.S. Human Rights Network Working Group Demands the Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, U.S. Political Activist Imprisoned Close to 30 years

January 28,2011

Contact: Stan Willis (312) 750-1950 or

Efia Nwangaza (864) 901-8627 or

Atlanta, GA- The Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group of the U.S. Human Rights Network calls for the immediate parole of Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican political activist who has served close to 30 years of a 70 year sentence on a COINTELPRO Era seditious conspiracy conviction. He was not accused nor convicted of causing harm or taking a life

Oscar Rivera Lopez, 68 years old and a model prisoner, is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who worked in Chicago as a community organizer for better housing, education, employment, and living conditions for Puerto Ricans and Latinos. He helped to found institutions which still thrive today. He is a father and grandfather, encouraging his daughter and granddaughter as they pursue higher education degrees.

In 1999, former President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of Mr. Lopez Rivera's co-defendants. They, convicted of the same offense, had served between 16 and 20 years in prison, President Clinton determined that their sentences were disproportionately long and that they posed no threat to society. Applying the same standard, he said that Oscar López Rivera should be released by September of 2009.

Since the release of Mr. Lopez Rivera's co-defendants, including Carlos Alberto Torres who served 30 years and paroled in July of 2010, each person has established him/herself as a productive, law-abiding people contributing to the betterment of society. We believe this is and will be true of Oscar Lopez Rivera also.

We, the U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group, join the United Nations Decolonization Committee, the Ecumenical and Interreligious Coalition of Puerto Rico, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and other U.S. elected officials, civil society of Puerto Rico, and many other human rights, civic, religious, political and community leaders in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in the call for theU. S. government's immediate release of Oscar Lopez Rivera.

We urge all people of conscience to encourage the U.S. Parole Commission to grant Mr. Lopez Rivera immediate parole. We encourage participation in the continuing solidarity actions to call the Parole Board (301.492.5990), fax (301/492-5543) and mail support letters to the Parole Board UNTIL NOTIFICATION THAT THE PAROLE BOARD HAS REJECTED OR CONFIRMED THE EXAMINER’S DECISION. Contact to report the number of letters mailed/faxed.

See U.S. Human Rights Network Reports to the UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council:

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