National Conference of Black Lawyers invoking the spirit of El Haj Malik Shabazz, calls for the release of all political prisoners in the United States

Malcolm X (El Haj Malik Shabazz), was a human rights activist. He was a target of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (Cointelpro) which carried out illegal surveillance of him and his family. He spoke passionately and eloquently about not only the right, but the duty of oppressed peoples to demand human rights. Indeed Malcolm exhorted blacks to take their cause for justice to the World Court to seek redress from a government that was bent on continuing its racist practices emanating from enslavement to its continued vestiges. Malcolm X gained recognition as a well respected leader not only among  blacks in America but among people in other parts of the world where he traveled and spread his message of human rights. Assassinated on February 21, 1965, his time on this earth was short, but his legacy lives on.

Veronza Bowers was born February 4, 1946. He grew up in the turbulent 6o’s where he witnessed injustices at every turn. He joined the Black panther party and like other members, became a target of the FBI’s surveillance under (CointelPro). In April, 1974  he was convicted of the murder of a California park ranger in 1973, and was sentenced to life in prison. It is reported that his conviction was obtained by unreliable evidence provided by government paid informants who testified falsely to achieve benefits including $10,000 paid to one informant for his testimony. Although he was approved for release on parole in 2004, then Attorney General Albert Gonzalez pressured/bullied the parole authorities to keep him imprisoned, notwithstanding the fact he is statutorily entitled to release. After more than 37 years Mr. Bowers remains incarcerated in a  federal prison.

Albert Woodfox, born February 19, 1947 is one of two of the “Angola 3” who are still in prison(Herman Wallace also remains incarcerated). Mr. Woodfox formed a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971 to address issues of deplorable prison conditions. In 1972 he was convicted of the murder of a warden.  There has been massive support for his release. He has remained in prison for 38 years with most of those years in solitary confinement which violates human rights treaties, particularly Committee Against Torture (CAT). An Angola prison warden has reportedly remarked that even if Woodfox were innocent of the murder he would still want to keep him in solitary, because “I still know he has a propensity for violence…he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism”… he continues in substance, Albert Woodfox is stuck in revolutionary ideas of the Black Panther Party beliefs and from that there is no rehabilitation. Mr. Woodfox’s continued incarceration is in violation of the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). He must be released from prison!!