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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

  • After 4 Decades in Solitary, Dying Angola 3 Prisoner Herman Wallace Freed, Conviction Overturned

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    A dying prisoner has been released in Louisiana after serving nearly 42 years in solitary confinement, longer than any other person in the United States. Herman Wallace and two others, known as the Angola Three, were placed in solitary in 1972 following the murder of a prison guard. The Angola Three and their supporters say they were framed for the murder over their political activism as members of one of the first prison chapters of the Black Panthers. In a surprise development on Tuesday, Wallace was released from prison after a federal judge overturned his conviction, saying he did not receive a fair trial. Wallace, who is near death from advanced liver cancer, was taken directly to a New Orleans hospital where supporters greeted his arrival. We are joined by three guests: Robert King, who until Tuesday night was the only freed member of the Angola Three and helped deliver to Wallace the news of his release; Wallace’s defense attorney, George Kendall; and Jackie Sumell, an artist and Wallace supporter who is with him at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. "This is a tremendous victory and a miracle that Herman Wallace will die a free man," Sumell says. "He’s had 42 years of maintaining his innocence in solitary confinement, and if his last few breaths are as a free man, we’ve won."

  • Canadian Filmmaker and Doctor Imprisoned in Egypt Without Charges, Abused After Witnessing Massacre

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    Two Canadian citizens — acclaimed Toronto filmmaker John Greyson and medical doctor Tarek Loubani — have been jailed for more than a month and a half in Egypt without charge after witnessing a massacre by state forces on August 16 in Cairo. The two were traveling through Egypt en route to visit Gaza, where Greyson was to film Loubani as he trained emergency room doctors. In a statement smuggled out of their prison cell, Greyson and Loubani say they were arrested after rushing to the scene of a mass shooting of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Greyson says he began filming the shooting’s aftermath while Loubani treated some of the injured. "We were arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a 'Syrian terrorist,' slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries," they wrote. The two have been been held in cockroach-infested jail cells with as many as 36 other people. Over the weekend, Egyptian authorities confirmed their imprisonment has been extended another 45 days, still without charge. Greyson and Loubani have been on a hunger strike for the past two weeks against their imprisonment. We’re joined by three guests: Cecilia Greyson, the sister of John Greyson; Naomi Klein, the prominent Canadian journalist and author; and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent based in Cairo. Klein criticizes the Canadian government for a lackluster response to Greyson and Loubani’s imprisonment. "We haven’t heard our government say these men are innocent. They were doing their jobs. They must be released right now," Klein says. "That’s what we’re waiting for. We’re also waiting to hear that if they continue to be ignored and disregarded by the Egyptian government, which has been what’s happened so far, that there will be real consequences."