AS THE holiday season approaches, Socialist Worker asks our readers to send cards or letters to political prisoners and victims of miscarriages of justice in Britain and abroad.
“When you send messages of support to political prisoners like my husband it encourages them and gives them hope for the future,” says Mrs Ahmad, wife of prisoner Babar Ahmad.
“It show that people around the country know about them and care about them—that they are not forgotten. Babar recently told me that it does make a difference when people write to him. He asked me to tell people to keep sending their messages in.”
Anne Whelan is the mother of Michael Hickey, who spent 18 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of the murder of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater.
She told Socialist Worker, “It’s important to any innocent man or woman in prison that they receive a card. It reinforces the fact that people care about injustice and will continue to fight for truth on their behalf. It’s usual for families to unite and be together at Christmas, so it can be a very lonely time for prisoners—there’s a feeling of hopelessness. But a card shows that they are being thought of and they haven’t been forgotten.”
Ishtiaq has spent over 15 years in prison on a wrongful conviction for murder. His appeal was turned down two years ago, when three judges threw out an overwhelming case for his innocence.
A witness retracted her original statement, which was crucial to Ishtiaq’s conviction. But the judges did not believe she had genuinely changed her mind.
The detective inspector in charge of Ishtiaq’s case was later suspended for perverting the course of justice. Another police officer involved was disciplined for using brutality on witnesses. A third died smuggling drugs.
Write to Ishtiaq Ahmed, WV2288, HMP Coldingley, Shaftesbury Road, Bisley, Woking, Surrey GU24 9EX.
Eddie Gilfoyle was convicted in 1993 of killing his wife.
He has always maintained his innocence, and his call for justice has won wide support. Go to www.mojuk.org.uk for details.
Write to Eddie Gilfoyle, DX1827, HMP Wakefield, Love Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF2 9AG.
Clare Barstow has been in prison for seven years for the murder of a woman in her care.
She has consistently claimed that she did not kill the woman, and that the activities of other people in the area at the time should be properly investigated.
Go to www.mojuk.org.uk for more details of her case.
Write to Clare Barstow, HMP Cookham Wood, Rochester, Kent ME1 5LU.
Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh
Samar and Jawad were wrongly convicted of conspiracy in relation to the 1994 bombing of the Israeli embassy in London. There was no direct evidence linking them to the attacks, and both had alibis.
Nevertheless, they were both sentenced to 20 years in prison. Samar is a Lebanese Palestinian and Jawad is Palestinian.
For more details of the case and other information go to www.freesaj.org.uk
Write to Samar Alami, RL1436, HMP Send, Ripley Road, Woking, Surrey GU23 7LJ. Jawad Botmeh, EP3888, HMP Rye Hill, Willoughby, Warwickshire CV23 8SZ.
Mumia Abu Jamal
Mumia, a former Black Panther, has been on death row in the US for over 20 years after being framed for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.
He has become internationally renowned as a writer and campaigner.
Mumia’s analysis of the US presidential elections appeared in last week’s Socialist Worker.
Write to Mumia Abu Jamal, #AM8335, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg PA 15370, United States.
Britain’s Guantanamo Bay
BABAR Ahmad is currently fighting extradition to the US on trumped-up terrorism charges. He is just one of at least 22 people being detained without trial in Woodhill, Belmarsh and Broadmoor prisons under the new “anti-terror” legislation.
Many of these political prisoners have no family in Britain and suffer from acute depression. Some have attempted suicide. Letters are a lifeline for them.
lWrite to the seven Woodhill detainees at HMP Woodhill, Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes MK4 4DA. Their names and numbers are:
Babar Ahmad MX5383,
Shujah Mahmood MX4292,
Nabeel Hussain MX4311,
Qaser Sharif MX5481,
Zia ul-Haq MX5482,
Mohammad Bhatti MX5483, Omer Abdulrehman MX5484.
Rachid Ramda’s prisoner number is KF2497.
The others are known only by their numbers: FF7095, FF8180, HJ4127, HP4390, HP5918, HP6064, HP6648, HP6676, HP6742, HP8485, HP8918, HP9416, LL4587.
They are Mamdouh Abu Rideh, Canterbury Ward, and Detainee M, Dunstable Ward.