As the world celebrates Press Freedom Day, Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison

As people worldwide celebrate the UN’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange remains incarcerated. The US continues to demand Assange’s extradition for his role in obtaining and publishing national defence documents from 2009 to 2011. The leaks, provided by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, are known as the Guantanamo Files, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary, and the US diplomatic cables (aka Cablegate). There are noteworthy parallels which can be drawn between Assange’s case and that of famed US Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was a former senior adviser and analyst with the defence and state departments during the…

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Calls for solidarity with a prisoner ‘facing retaliation’ for standing up against the prison system

Family and supporters of Kevan Thakrar held a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice offices in London on Wednesday 28 April. Thakrar is being held in segregation at HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire. The protesters demanded an end to the targeting of Thakrar by the prison, and also that he’s moved out of HMP Full Sutton to HMP Whitemoor where he can receive the support he needs. Freedom for Kevan A statement by the demonstrators reads: Friends and family of Kevan Thakrar came together to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Justice in what is another escalation in the fight for justice for Kevan Thakrar. Kevan is…

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White prison officers at HMP Full Sutton accused of assaulting a Black Muslim prisoner

Content warning – this article contains a description of violence by prison officers Allegations have emerged that a group of white officers assaulted a Black Muslim prisoner at HMP Full Sutton on Thursday 22 April. A police complaint has been made after Dwayne Fulgence was left bleeding on the floor of his cell in HMP Full Sutton’s Segregation Unit. Fulgence was reportedly not given medical treatment for a considerable time after the attack. The Canary has been told he’s effectively been denied food since the attack. This is the second complaint that The Canary has seen from inside HMP Full Sutton in two weeks. On 14 April, The Canary reported…

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Campaigners take action against expanding private prison system that ‘creates motivation to incarcerate’

A group of campaigners blocked the entrance to a construction site to demand an end to the government bankrolling new private megaprisons. On Monday 19 April, campaigners arrived at the HMP Five Wells Kier construction site in Wellingborough. The group used concrete-filled barrels as lock-ons to blockade the main entrance. The blockade carried on overnight. A campaigner tweeted on 20 April: Waking up to a #megaprison after a cold night. @kiergroup have a long history of exploiting prison labor and #blacklisting workers who try to #unionize yet not that many people know who they are or all the horrors they've been building. Enough #kierendshere @netpol @autonomy_news pic.twitter.com/6vi6ZUuHTh —…

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Call to support Kevan Thakrar, held in the ‘most restrictive’ conditions in the UK prison system

Campaigners are calling for action to support a vulnerable prisoner at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan Thakrar has been imprisoned for over 13 years, 11 of which have been spent in the UK’s Close Supervision Centres (CSC), where prisoners face the “most restrictive conditions” seen in the UK prison system. CSCs are prisons within prisons, where people are kept isolated for years with very little human contact. Over a decade of trauma Thakrar was placed in the CSC system after he defended himself against a racist attack by prison guards in 2010. These shocking pictures show Thakrar’s injuries after the 2010 attack: Thakrar was taken to court in 2011…

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The Home Office is forcing people back to Napier barracks to face ‘prison like’ conditions

Refugees are being moved back into Napier Barracks despite enduring concerns over conditions and coronavirus. One resident who arrived last Friday said the military site in Kent is “like prison”, despite claims from the Home Office that improvements have been made. More people are expected to arrive on Tuesday, the PA news agency understands. Accommodation for asylum seekers in Napier Barracks in Kent (Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration/PA) The barracks in Folkestone has been dogged by allegations of poor conditions and was hit by a major outbreak of Covid-19. Nearly 200 cases of coronavirus were detected, leading to asylum seekers being moved off the site to…

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Aging Former Black Panthers Mumia Abu-Jamal & Sundiata Acoli Got COVID-19 & Could Die in Prison

We get an update on political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, who contracted COVID-19 but have yet to be released. Acoli is a former member of the Black Panther Party who is now 84 years old and has been in prison in New Jersey for nearly half a century, even though he has been eligible for parole for almost three decades. He was denied parole again in February. His crime involved the killing of a state trooper. Last year, he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized, and he reportedly has early-stage dementia. We speak with his longtime advocate, Soffiyah Elijah with Alliance of Families for Justice, about whether…

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Close Guantánamo: Ex-Prisoner & Torture Survivor Mohamedou Ould Slahi Calls on Biden to Shut Prison

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman. President Joe Biden is facing new calls to finally close the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo. Since 2002, over 770 men and boys have been held at the prison in Cuba. Of them, only eight have been convicted of a crime. Three of the convictions were later overturned. Today the prison’s population is down to 40. According to The New York Times, the U.S. spends a staggering $13 million per prisoner each year, according to the New York Times. President George W. Bush…

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Welsh language speaker alleges discrimination at Britain’s largest prison

A Welsh language speaker has alleged he and others are being discriminated against for speaking Welsh in HMP Berwyn. Prison campaigners, grassroots activists and Welsh language campaigners are also speaking out about this. Welsh independence movement Undod said: Undod and Prisoner Solidarity Network are campaigning together to stop the persecution of Welsh language speakers at HMP Berwyn. Prisoner Solidarity Network has been made aware of the ongoing harassment and separation of first language Welsh speakers by staff at HMP Berwyn in North Wales. Allegations of language discrimination Rhodri Cynfor ab Eilian is a prisoner in HMP Berwyn and The Canary spoke to his sister. Speaking in Welsh translated…

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What 2021 might hold for those in prison

It’s apparent that nothing this year could prompt a serving prisoner to raise a toast with their blue jail-issue plastic mug. This bleak conclusion might be rooted in the fact that prisoners are dying from failures to protect against a deadly global virus, or that men suffering from depression are being punished for self-harming, or that indeterminate sentences (IPPs) are still causing widespread misery and suffering (there is an increased risk of suicide for any IPP prisoner). The conditions have prompted a former prisons minister to speak out; he described our prisons as “the most shocking failure in British civilisation”. Dissatisfaction has also, within the last few weeks,…

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