By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Imam Jamil Al Amin, the former H. Rap Brown was wrongfully accused and falsely convicted of the March 2000 shooting of two deputies in Atlanta, where he served as imam of a local mosque for more than a decade.
Jamil El Amin earned the attention of the FBI and other authorities as early as the mid 1960s, when as H. Rap Brown of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he headed a project that registered voters, organized freedom schools and cooperatives in rural Alabama.
His work is widely acknowledged as helping lay the foundation for what black political power exists in that part of the South to this day.
He played an early role in the Black Panther Party, and served five years in prison in New York for confronting drug traffickers. While in prison he converted to Islam, and moved to Atlanta after his release in 1976.
Despite becoming one of the leading lights of the US Muslim community, founding several business enterprises, a mosque and youth sports leagues authorities pursued a decade's worth of aggressive investigations resulting in a string false accusations and attempts to frame Al-Amin.
In the incident where he was finally convicted, another man confessed to the killing, but this fact was concealed from Al-Amin's defense lawyers.
Once you earn the lasting ire of police authorities in the US, you don't lose it, not even after your conviction and incarceration. Prison officials apparently regarded Al-Amin's presence in a maximum security Georgia prison, near his family, congregation and a community which widely disputed his guilt, a threat.
So over the objections of some prominent African American political figures, they hurriedly transferred El Amin in the dead of night to the remote federal supermax prison of Florence, Colorado, despite the fact that he has never been accused, let alone convicted of any federal offense.
In Florence he never sees direct sunlight, and inmates are typically allowed only a few communications with the outside per month.
Iman Jamil Al-Amin's life and work, and the way in which he was singled out for repeated attempts at false conviction, along with his highly questionable trial and his uniquely savage handoff into federal custody absent any federal offense plainly mark him as a political prisoner.
Though his mind and spirit are undimmed, the imam is now 70 years old. His age, and the last dozen years in solitary confinement with the indifferent or wholly negligent medical care typical of US prisons have taken a toll on his health.
As with tens of thousands of other prisoners, his keepers resisted and refused his requests for adequate medical care for years on end. An athletic man till his arrest in his late fifties, he spent a recent two week period barely able to get out of bed.
After calls from two members of Congress and a recent visit by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Imam Jamil's wife, Attorney Karima Al-Amin, reports has it that the prison authorities finally took blood and urine samples. Their preliminary indication suggests multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, which might be confirmed by a bone marrow biopsy.
Based upon his advanced age and deteriorating health, Mrs. El Amin says, it's time to call for Iman Jamil El Amin's immediate transfer to a federal medical center, either at Butner NC, or Rochester MN, where he might receive appropriate monitoring and medical care.
Here's what you need to do:
- Call ADX Florence at 719-784-9464 and politely express your concern for the health and well being of Iman Jamil El Amin #99974-555.
- Email FLMfirstname.lastname@example.org, also politely expressing your concern.
- Visit the Bureau of Prisons web site at http://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp. Select Florence ADMAX USP, and enter Jamil Al-Amin #99974-555.
- Contact your representative in Congress and ask her or him to make the call.
- Contact the office of the director of the Bureau of Prisons, Charles Samuels at (202) 307-3198, or via mail at Charles Samuels, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 320 First St. NW, Washington DC 20534.
- Efforts, says Mrs. Al-Amin are underway to directly contact US Attorney General Eric Holder as well.
Atlanta's Nadim Ali, now imam at the masjid once headed by Jamil Al-Amin notes that even if you dispute Jamil Al-Amin's status as a political prisoner or imagine he is guilty of what the state convicted him of, the question of adequate medical care is a moral and humanitarian one, and an urgent one. Time is of the essence.
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Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.