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October 24, 2009

Outrage! Isolation of Ahmad Sa'adat extended six months


October 22, 2009 - As actions across Palestine and around the world in support of imprisoned Palestinian national leader Ahmad Sa'adat continue, the illegitimate Israeli occupation military court in Bir Saba today extended Sa'adat's isolation for six additional months. Take action today to say that we will not allow these abuses to continue!

Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, continued his boycott of the occupation courts, stating that these courts are illegitimate, invalid and can produce nothing but a mockery of justice, and that these courts are part and parcel of the war machine that continues its aggression against the Palestinian people, with isolation another weapon in their arsenal.

Sa'adat has already been held in isolation for over six months, in a special solitary confinement unit at Ramon prison where he is confined without access even to the other prisoners in the larger isolation unit, and deprived of basic human rights. His personal books have been confiscated and he is routinely denied access to television, newspapers or any other source of information.

He has been denied family visits - his wife, Abla, has been denied visits for three months - as well as legal visits, and barred from purchases at the prison canteen, including cigarette purchases. In the prison yard, Sa'adat has been held handcuffed and in ankle shackles and allowed only one-hour of exercise/recreation. All of this has been 'justified' by the occupation authorities as 'punishment' for giving two packs of cigarettes to another prisoner.

The Prison Administration is attempting to criminalize the human and social relationship between fellow Palestinian prisoners, and between the prisoners and their families outside. Palestinian national leaders, such as Sa'adat, have been particularly targeted for isolation, solitary confinement and similar punitive mechanisms and violations of their human rights, in order to suppress the Palestinian prisoners' movement, which has been at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, liberation, return and self-determination.

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT AHMAD SA'ADAT AND ALL PALESTINIAN PRISONERS!

Ahmad Sa'adat and nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners are struggling for freedom and calling upon the active support of people around the world for the freedom of the prisoners, their people and their homeland. This latest outrage demands our action and attention!

Across Palestine, throughout the Arab world, from France, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Galicia, Greece the U.S., Canada, Brazil and around the world, actions are taking place and statements are pouring in to support Ahmad Sa'adat and the Palestinian prisoners, demanding an end to isolation and freedom for these 10,000 hostages.

1. Distribute the Free Ahmad Sa'adat flyer: http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/saadat-flyer.pdf in your town, city, event or location! Bring the flyers to events and activities, or hold a flyer distribution at a public place.

2. Call the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location(http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+missions/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+Missions+Abroad.htm) and demand the immediate freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian political prisoners.

3. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the Israelis ensure that Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners are freed from punitive isolation. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at jerusalem.jer@icrc.org, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa'adat.

4.Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat at info@freeahmadsaadat.org with announcements, reports and information about your local events, activities and flyer distributions.

Ahmad Sa'adat and nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners are daily on the front lines, confronting Israeli oppression and crimes. Today, he is suffering six months more of inhumane and unjust isolation after over 200 days in solitary confinement. it is urgent that we stand with Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners against these abuses, and for freedom for all Palestinian prisoners and for all of Palestine!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat
http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org
info@freeahmadsaadat.org

WHO ARE THE PALESTINIAN PRISONERS?

There are nearly 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. In the West Bank, nearly half of all men have been detained in occupation prisons. They are members of all Palestinian political parties and factions, and come from all walks of life - activists, teachers, farmers, students. They are women and men, and children and youth. They include in their number hundreds of administrative detainees - arbitrarily detained individuals held without charge on secret evidence. They also include approximately 27 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. All of these prisoners are held in Israeli occupation jails because they are struggling for the freedom of their people and their land.

WHO IS AHMAD SA'ADAT?

Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was elected to his position in 2001 following the assassination of the previous General Secretary, Abu Ali Mustafa, on August 27, 2001 by a U.S.-made Apache missile shot from an Israeli military helicopter as he sat in his office in Ramallah. He was abducted by Palestinian Authority security forces after engaging in a meeting with PA officials under false pretenses in February 2002, and was held in the Muqata' PA presidential building in Ramallah until April 2002, when in an agreement with Israel, the U.S. and Britain, he and four of his comrades were held in the Palestinian Authority's Jericho prison, under U.S. and British guard.

He remained in the PA jails, without trial or charge, an imprisonment that was internationally condemned, until March 14, 2006, when the prison itself was besieged by the occupation army and he and his comrades were kidnapped. While imprisoned in the PA jail in Jericho, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Since that time, he has been held in the prisons of the occupation and continually refused to recognize the illegitimate military courts of the Israeli occupation. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison on December 25, 2008 solely for his political activity, and has spent over six months in isolation at the present time.

On March 18, 2009, Sa'adat was moved into isolation at Asqelan prison, facing serious medical consequences. In June 2009, Sa'adat engaged in a nine-day hunger strike against his isolation. On August 10, 2009, Sa'adat was moved from the isolation cells at Asqelan to the isolation unit at Ramon prison in the Naqab desert. On October 22, 2009, he was consigned to an additional six months in the isolation cells.

Sa'adat's biography, writings and statements are available at the website of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat
http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org
info@freeahmadsaadat.org

National Secretary of the YCLSA, Cde.Buti Manamela completes Limpopo Three Campus Election Tour


21 October 2009

Talks about Free Education, Kader Asmal, UFS, Caster Semenya and Alberto Santana

The Young Communist League of South Africa’s National Secretary, Buti Manamela, last night completed the Three Campus Election Tour in Limpopo (visiting University of Limpopo (Turfloop), University of Venda and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT- Polokwane) where the Progressive Youth Alliance (comprising of the ANC Youth League, South African Students Congress(SASCO) and the YCLSA) are confident of an overwhelming victory.

The Election Trail attracted more than 6000 students combined from all the three campuses.

Free Education

In his message, Manamela emphasised the need for free education at universities and called on the NSFAS Review Committee to complete its work urgently. Manamela called on the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Blade Nzimande, to introduce a national funding model that should result in regulating the cost of Higher Education and guide universities when they increase their tuition fees. If these universities are not stopped from insane fee increases, we will declare a Campus on Fire next year until all students are admitted, he said.

On Kader Asmal

“The best thing that we will remember Kader Asmal for is that he closed black universities under a cosmetic integration process, and today, black youth and students are worse off than before the merger. Today he wants to teach us about political literacy, when he is effectively responsible for the academic genocide we are witnessing” Manamela said

On Free education

If we build a R35bn train; or buy guns worth R35bn; or even better, we build expensive stadiums for other nations to come and win the world cup here because our national soccer team is terrible, then we can afford to educate every child for free. True liberation can only come through the education of youth of our country”

He also said that if there is overcrowding in schools and universities then those doors get closed, and the youth almost always choose any other door that is open and sometimes that door is a prison cell. We have to give the youth opportunities so that they do not flirt with crime.

Manamela called on students at universities to ensure that when the state provides free education, they have the responsibility of passing and giving way to the next generation to have access.

“We must discourage lifelong learning where people repeat every year of their degree. If you are on campus for five years, we expect you to be doing a Masters Degree, not your second year of a junior degree. This is more so important for the leaders we elect into the SRC”

He also said that students have a responsibility to uplift their communities through the education they acquire. It will be communities and the tax payer who will be paying our free education; we must pay it back through community service and working for government.

Upliftment of black universities

The YCLSA’s message also reiterated the need for improvement of facilities of ‘black universities’. Manamela said that as part of the demand for free education; students should be studying in clean campuses, with computers, well equipped libraries and better accommodation. He said that “if that applies in Stellenbosch, it must also happen in the University of Venda. Why is the raping and killing of students regarded as normal in ‘black universities’, and when a white student in ‘white universities’ is victimised, all resources are deployed to ensure their safety and security.

“Kosvies Four”-UFS

He called on Prof. Jonathan Jansen to reverse his decision of not disciplining the Kosvie Four who last year forced black workers to drink their urine.

“This is a travesty of justice. Reconciliation ended with Bishop Tutu, and anybody committing acts of racism should be prosecuted by the NPA and the Human Rights Commission as a lesson that racism is barbaric and backward. Those who see universities as training grounds for them to become future AWB leaders must be shown the jail cell. “Reconciliation se voet”! Prof. Jansen should send a message to those who still behave like they stay in a cage that he will not tolerate such, and giving an olive branch to the Klu Klux Klan cannot be that lesson” said Manamela

Manamela also said that the YCL will blockade the University and stop the racist students from re-entering the university and render that university ungovernable”

Caster Semenya

Manamela called on the students to support Caster Semenya. “The most practical support is to ensure that we build sporting facilities in every township so that we give more and more young people an opportunity. Why are there more shebeens than there are sports ground in our townships? Every school and university that we build must have a sports facility as a rule in order for the youth to realise their potential, he said.

Manamela called on companies such as SAB Miller, Vodacom, Standard Bank and the private sector in general to support grass-root sports as the millions of profits that they rake in are from the townships. He said that the private sector has an important role to play in uplifting our communities and investing in sports. “They must give us a lifeline and a way out from the misery of poverty and crime”

Santana should have gone years ago

Manamela applauded the decision of SAFA to dismiss Santana and called for an urgent, sober and South African coach. But he equally said that the coach was just a tip of the iceberg of the problems facing our soccer, and that it is unacceptable that each time we hear of strikers in soccer, it is when the players are demanding more money. “They must also strike in the soccer field”

Election Dates

The University of the North and University of Venda will vote on Thursday, whilst TUT will vote next week. Manamela was upbeat, saying that the PYA will bury the little puppies of AZAPO, PAC, DA and others as the bigger ANC led alliance buried their seniors in the general elections on April 22. On Friday, the PYA will host a rally in Soshanguve where Manamela will be speaking

Issued by the YCLSA Head office

October 21, 2009

October 22: Take Action to End Isolation and Free Ahmad Sa'adat and Palestinian Prisoners!


October 22: Take Action to End Isolation and Free Ahmad Sa'adat and Palestinian Prisoners!

Free Ahmad Sa'adat

http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org



Imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa'adat is going to court on Thursday, October 22, 2009 to challenge isolation of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons. Join the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat and take action today to uphold Palestinian prisoners' rights and support Palestinian prisoners' struggle for freedom!

Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been held in isolation in Ramon prison in the Naqab desert for six months, when he was transferred from Hadarim prison in Asqelan after 14 days of isolation. Sa'adat has been targeted for isolation and abusive prison conditions alongside other Palestinian national leaders and popular prison leaders, and placed in special isolation units. Within these isolation units, Sa'adat has been placed further inside a separate isolation unit where he is confined without access even to the other prisoners in isolation, and deprived of basic human rights. His personal books have been confiscated and he is allowed access to newspapers only once or twice weekly.

He has been denied family visits - his wife, Abla, has been denied visits for three months - as well as legal visits, and barred from purchases at the prison canteen, including cigarette purchases. In the prison yard, Sa'adat has been held handcuffed and in ankle shackles and allowed only one-hour of exercise/recreation. All of this has been 'justified' by the occupation authorities as 'punishment' for giving two packs of cigarettes to another prisoner. The Prison Administration is attempting to criminalize the human and social relationship between fellow Palestinian prisoners, and between the prisoners and their families outside.

Sa'adat has led in the struggle against isolation, engaging in a nine-day hunger strike in July 2009 that was immediately followed by his transfer to Ramon prison. He is challenging isolation in court on October 22, 2009 and needs your support to challenge isolation of Palestinian political prisoners!

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT AHMAD SA'ADAT AND ALL PALESTINIAN PRISONERS!

Events and activities are expected to be held in Palestine and around the world in support of Sa'adat from October 16-22, calling for freedom and justice for Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners. Join in these events in your town, city, or country:

1. Distribute the Free Ahmad Sa'adat flyer: http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/saadat-flyer.pdf in your town, city, event or location! Bring the flyers to events and activities, or hold a flyer distribution at a public place.

2. Call the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location( http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+missions/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+Missions+Abroad.htm) and demand the immediate freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian political prisoners.

3. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the Israelis ensure that Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners are freed from punitive isolation. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at jerusalem.jer@icrc.org, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa'adat.

4.Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat at info@freeahmadsaadat.org with announcements, reports and information about your local events, activities and flyer distributions.

Ahmad Sa'adat has been imprisoned since 2002 in the prisons of the Palestinian Authority, held under U.S. and British guard, until his abduction by the Israeli occupation forces on March 14, 2006 by an occupation military raid on Jericho prison. On December 25, 2008, he was sentenced to thirty years inside the occupation prisons. He is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and one of the foremost Palestinian national leaders held inside the occupier's jails.

Ahmad Sa'adat and nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners are daily on the front lines, confronting Israeli oppression and crimes. Today, it is urgent that we stand with Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners against these abuses, and for freedom for all Palestinian prisoners and for all of Palestine!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat
http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org
info@freeahmadsaadat.org

Protest PR Firm's Propaganda for Honduran Coup Regime


The Honduran coup regime has hired the services of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates, a Washington DC based public relations firm, to clean up its image. SOA Watch will join Hondureños por la Democracia and others at 12:30pm today for a protest at their offices. Please support the protest by letting the PR firm know that their implicit endorsement of the Honduran coup regime and its record of human rights violations is simply unacceptable. You can send an email message through this webpage and call them at (202) 289-5900 to register your opposition.

October 20, 2009

Open Letter from Elliot Vredenburg


Reprinted from BASICS Free Community Newsletter
BASICS #15 (Sep/Oct 2009)

It is with great concern that I compose the letter that is to follow, but I feel that I have no choice but to lament about the conduct of several police officers of the Toronto Police Services.
On August 17, 2009, 4 friends and I were in Alexandra Park, at Dundas and Bathurst. At approximately 11:30 p.m., we were quite literally cavorting amongst the sprinklers in the field south of the school, since the weather was unbearably humid, and the pool was closed earlier that night. I am under the belief that we were not trespassing, as Chapter 608-9 of the Toronto Municipal Code states that “Unless authorized by permit, no person shall use, enter or gather in a park between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.”

We saw three police cruisers pull up to the fenced-in pool area of the park, and the occupants proceeded to clear the crowded pool. Soon after, we were approached by five to six officers, who told us that we had “five seconds to get the fuck out of here.” I informed the officers that my belongings were near where they were standing and I was going to gather them, and that I hoped that that did not count towards my ‘five seconds.’ This was met with more cursing from the officers. After I picked up my stuff and proceeded to head towards the exit of the park, Sasha Foster, one of my friends, must have said something to offend or provoke an officer, because she was grabbed and pinned against the wall of the school with her arm twisted behind her back. I must concede that I do not know what exactly was said. At this point, her boyfriend, Sean Curry, naturally moved to protect her, and was met with repeated shoves from an officer.

As the officer was becoming increasingly agitated, I proceeded to hold him back from the officer, as I knew what could possibly transpire. When I moved to do this, I was grabbed by the police officer, thrown against the wall, and eventually onto the ground, which caused injury to my back and right arm. The officer’s hand or forearm was pressed against my throat, choking me and leaving bruises. He told me, “when I’m trying to take someone down, you don’t get in my fucking way.” I kept repeating that he was choking me, that I was solely trying to hold my friend back, and did not mean any harm. I was not exhibiting any aggression towards him: my hands were on the ground. After this, he got up and told me to “get the fuck up, get your shit and get out of here.” I quickly complied, and asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers, to which they replied, “fuck off. Get the fuck out of here.” At this point I dialed 911 on Dillon Scheenaard’s cellphone, which I’m sure is recorded.

I am truly disturbed, saddened, and shocked at the events that transpired on the evening of August 17, 2009, and I honestly wish for serious punishment to be brought against these officers, and indemnification for my friends and myself. The injuries to my back greatly affected my performance at work, and my ability to commute on my bicycle. Although they were not severe injuries, they were inflicted without reason by an officer of the Toronto Police Service, for which there is no excuse.

Sincerely,
Elliot Vredenburg∗



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