As of today, Monday, June 26, 2017, Jaan K. Laaman, long-time anti-imperialist political prisoner, is still locked down in segregation (minimum of 23 hours locked down in a 6×9’ cell). Jaan has been in “segregation” for three months simply for issuing two statements, a clear violation of free speech and human rights. He is being threatened with transfer to a Communication Management Unit (CMU) or Special Management Unit; punishments that are not appropriate for a prisoner of Jaan’s age, and would be a violation for practicing free speech.
After a prison hearing on May 4, 2017, Jaan was found to not have violated prison regulations regarding “misuse of mail,” but was found to have violated prison regulations concerning “misuse of the telephone,” for speaking on the phone to a friend and conveying his support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017), and his feelings about the death of his friend, Attorney Lynne Stewart. Jaan was sanctioned by losing 10 days good time credit and by loss of the telephone for 6 months (in addition to the loss of email access which was imposed without a hearing one year ago). Jaan is currently appealing this ruling. Meanwhile, Jaan is still in “segregation,” and still being threatened with transfer to a CMU.
How you can support Jaan:
Write/call/email the Bureau of Prisons Regional Director and ask her not to transfer Jaan to a Communication Management Unit.
Please remind her that Jaan is an elder prisoner, and you are concerned about his health in segregation and you would be concerned about his safety if he is moved to a Communication Management Unit.
Mary M. Mitchell, Regional Director
BOP Regional Office
7338 Shoreline Dr
Stockton, CA 95219
– Select ‘USP Tucson’
– Send a message that includes his name and number: ‘Jaan Laaman #10372-016’
Jaan has no access to news and access to phone calls. It’s important we send him some letters right now. Send him articles, so that he gets some world news and messages of solidarity and support. Let the jailers see that Jaan has support from the community and cannot just be left in segregation or silenced.
Jaan Karl Laaman #10372-016
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734
Jaan is imprisoned at United States Penitentiary (USP) Tucson in Arizona, and is one of the last two remaining Ohio-7 political prisoners still locked up. The Ohio-7 were convicted in 1986 of direct actions to protest U.S. support for the white-supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa, illegal U.S. attacks on Nicaragua, and repression against advocates for Puerto Rican self-determination.
Jaan was placed into solitary confinement because of two short messages: one in support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017) which was printed in the NYC Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) update, and his “Farewell Thoughts to My Friend, Lynne Stewart” which was broadcast on Prison Radio. Lynne Stewart, revolutionary peoples’ lawyer passed away on March 8, 2017. When the NYC ABC magazine arrived by mail to the prison, Jaan was promptly placed in solitary confinement. Prison officials charged Jaan with “threatening the security of the prison” because of these First Amendment protected statements.
No one should be punished for exercising their First Amendment Rights. The United States District Court in Pennsylvania recently ruled in a case involving efforts to censure Mumia Abu-Jamal: “A past criminal offense does not extinguish a person’s constitutional right to free expression. The First Amendment does not disappear at the prison gate.”
Pattern of Increasing Repression
Being placed in segregation is the latest act of repression by the prison administration, following increasing actions against Jaan. Over a year ago, the prison shut down Jaan’s access to email, and they have been censoring him in various ways since then, including withholding his mail and limiting access to his lawyer.
Jaan was placed in segregation on his birthday and has been there ever since. There is a growing consensus as to the psychological harm caused by solitary confinement. In 2011 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture concluded that solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture and can cause irreversible harmful psychological effects.
Jaan previously wrote about the increasing censorship he has been facing, here. Jaan has been writing reflections about global events since he was first captured in 1984, so this level of censorship is certainly something new and different.
This update was written by friends of Jaan Laaman.
Facebook: Free Jaan Laaman