Political prisoners focus of talk

By Jill Stocker

“Political Prisoners in the United States,” a subject many people are unaware of or refuse to believe exists in America, will be the topic at a meeting this Sunday at the First Methodist Church in DeKalb.

“We want to bring to people’s attention that there are political prisoners in the United States and explain what kind of conditions these people are facing,” said Melinda Power, lawyer for the West Town Law Office, a community rights group in Chicago.

Anyone who is imprisoned because of his political beliefs or actions is considered a political prisoner, Power said. These people are put into a prison to be psychologically broken of their unpopular beliefs.

The Lexington Women’s Control Unit in Lexington, KY, a prison accused of confining political prisoners, was closed down this August because of the inhuman conditions, such as extreme isolation, forced upon its inmates.

“The conditions would drive women to (psychological) destruction,” said Power.

“This is a ‘civil rights’ issue here in the United States,” said Monique Lemaitre, co-coordinator of the Interfaith Network. “We are holding this lecture because we believe in peace and freedom. People tend to forget there are political problems in U.S. jails.”

There are about 100 political prisoners being held in the U.S. today. These include Puerto Ricans trying to gain independence for their country, black liberators, white anti-Imperialists, people for the Irish Movement, and Plowshares, a political movement to “turn weapons of war into weapons of peace”.

The public is invited to the 7 p.m. lecture.