Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The Philadelphia Inquirer (READ FULL ARTICLE ) announced today that the three remaining MOVE 9 women (Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa) were denied parole by the PA Parole Board. The Inquirer quotes parole board spokesperson Leo Dunn as saying that parole had been denied on the grounds that the three MOVE prisoners had “minimized or denied the ‘nature and circumstances’ of the offense, ‘refused to accept responsibility’ and lacked remorse. He said the fourth reason for the rejections was the ‘negative recommendation’ by the prosecutor.”
The parole board used several of the stipulations that MOVE spokesperson Ramona Africa had predicted that they would try and use to deny parole, including that they "refused to accept responsibility" and lacked remorse.... The unfairness and arguable illegality of this is so obvious, because how can you expect someone to "admit guilt" when they've always said they are innocent? Where does remorse come from if someone is actually innocent?
The “nature and circumstances” stipulation is a blatant re-sentence, since the serious nature of the charges were considered by the judge at the time when he ruled that MOVE should be eligible for parole after 30 years. How can this fairly be used to deny parole?
A further outrage is that the women never even faced weapons charges, unlike the male MOVE 9 prisoners. Because of this, it had been thought by many observers that the women would have a better chance of receiving parole.
Therefore, if this is any indication, it does not look good for the MOVE 9 men, for whom the parole decision is still pending. If supporters want to make a difference and hold the parole board accountable for these blatantly unconstitutional parole stipulations, we must increase public pressure.
This blatantly unfair decision can only serve to validate the argument that the MOVE 9 are indeed “political prisoners”.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Local writer David Love wrote in this week's Black Commentator that the MOVE 9 "have been exemplary prisoners, and should be released. But many would argue that they should not have been imprisoned in the first place."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
ONA MOVE, Everybody! This is an update on the MOVE 9 parole situation.
Janine, Janet and Debbie were interviewed by Matthew Mangino in person and Judy Viglione watched on closed circuit TV. Janine told us that Mangino questioned her about the issue of innocence and then he didn't want to hear any information about MOVE's innocence. Janet and Debbie got to put out a lot of information about how many people sit in prison for 20, 30 years and have to be released because their innocence is proven so a conviction does not make a person guilty. Viglione asked Janet and Debbie a few questions about what they would be doing if they were released. The decision could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Our brothers see the parole board sometime this month but they don't have a specific date yet. My brother, Michael, was in the U.S. Marines before joining MOVE (he was around 17 years old) and after being around MOVE he decided not to go back to the Marines. He was AWOL (away without official leave). The Military Police came to MOVE Hq. and JOHN AFRICA gave them some serious information-they never came back. Now over 35 years later, when prison officials interviewed Michael to decide if they would recommend him for parole or not, they bring up this issue of Michael going AWOL from the military when he was 17.
It's obvious that this government does not want MOVE people on the street again so we have to keep the pressure on them so they have no choice but to release innocent MOVE people. Stay strong and keep sending letters to the parole board, keep the pressure on. Ona Move----Ramona