In early May, African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) Chairman Omali Yeshitela, 81, was dramatically chained and shackled after reporting to the Middle District Federal Court in Tampa for his arraignment in a courtroom packed with supporters.
Chairman Yeshitela faces federal charges after a lifetime of organizing dedicated to “the liberation for Africa and African people everywhere.”
Penny Hess, 77, and Jesse Nevel, 33, two white people working under the leadership of the APSP also face charges after organizing for decades in the white community for solidarity and reparations to the black community.
The “Uhuru Three” are charged with being unregistered “foreign agents” allegedly under the “malign influence” of the Russian government.
Chairman Yeshitela’s lawyer Ade Griffin affirms the three are “not guilty and look forward to their day in court.”
The indictments came nine months after a militarized multi-city FBI raid used flash bang grenades, drones, armored vehicles, automatic weapons and scores of flak-jacketed soldiers to seize computers, hard drives, phones and files from seven homes and offices of Uhuru Movement leaders.
According to Mwezi Odom, Chair of the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Committee, the “charges are completely false and a concerning violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech for the black community and others who dissent from the mainstream view. These indictments “recall the FBI’s COINTELPRO program which unleashed assassinations, false arrests, provocateurs and slander against the Black activists and leaders in the 1960s and ’70s.”
“COINTELPRO,” states the American Civil Liberties Union on its website: “targeted numerous non-violent protest groups and political dissidents with illegal wiretaps, warrantless physical searches and an array of other dirty tricks…
“The FBI has a long history of abusing its national security surveillance powers. The potential for abuse is once again great, particularly given that the lines between criminal investigations and foreign intelligence operations have been blurred or erased since 9/11. As a result, intrusive surveillance tools originally developed to target Soviet spies are increasingly being used against Americans…”
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