Bay Area Support for Political Prisoners: C.A.P.S.

No political prisoners in California? Think again!! California Anarchist Prisoner Solidarity (CAPS) formed in September 2004 to support those who face incarceration as a direct response to their beliefs or actions. Some were confronting the oppressive nature of the state, the injustices that exist due to class, racism, sexism, and homophobia, or the destruction of the earth and the species who inhabit it. We seek the abolition of prisons as part of a dismantling of all repressive state apparatuses and also extend our solidarity to those imprisoned around the world. However, we have so far chosen to focus most of our limited resources on political prisoners in California and neighboring Mexico because we believe it is important to fight locally. We correspond with prisoners, fundraise on their behalf, and build public awareness of their situations. We hope to remind those in prison they are not alone, break down the bars that separate us from them and inspire those on the outside to continue the battle. Here are some of the prisoners we are in solidarity with.

Hugo Pinell A.K.A. Yogi Bear

(turned 60 on March 10) # A88401 POB 7500 SHU-D-214 Crescent City CA 95531. Hugo Pinell has been in California prisons since he was 19 years old. He is now 60. His original case (an assault charge for which he turned himself in) would have cost the average citizen a few years in prison. Hugo became politicized by revolutionary prisoners like W.L. Nolen, George L. Jackson, et al., who promoted revolution among prisoners and organize resistance to the racist attacks against them. They wanted fair treatment and opportunity for a good life when they left prison. On August 21, 1971, Jackson was murdered on the yard at San Quentin in an alleged escape attempt. Six prisoners were put on trial for the murders and assaults of three guards and two inmate trustees during the incident. Hugo is the only one of the six who remains in prison. He is now in his 40th year of continuous custody, 34 of those years have been in solitary confinement.

Hugo is kept in Pelican Bay SHU, in the Northwest corner of California on the Oregon. The prison is solid gray concrete and the SHU (Security Housing Unit) is windowless with only doors for entrance, like a large tomb. It’s hi-tech—with automatic doors and gates, only artificial light, and even the so-called yard is nothing more than a “dog run” or outdoor closet with 20′ high walls covered on top by Plexiglas. SHU prisoners are locked down 24/7 except for a possible hour on the dog run where they can exercise alone with no equipment whatsoever. They are not permitted any arts and crafts, and only a very limited number of books and property. They are chained hand and foot whenever they leave their cells escorted by two prison guards. Visits are limited to weekends and holidays and are less than two hours. Their visits are conducted in a “phone booth” and they cannot call outside. In short, Yogi’s mother, who has been visiting him for all these years, has not been able to hug her son in at least 30.

Bill Dunne

#10916-086 Box 019001 Atwater, CA 95301. Bill Dunne is serving a 90 year sentence after being apprehended for allegedly plotting the escape of a friend from a Seattle prison in 1979. In addition to a conspiracy count, he faced further charges alleging that the operation was financed by bank expropriation and materially facilitated by illegal acquisition of weapons, explosives, vehicles, ID and other equipment. Four years later in 1983, he was given an additional 15 years for attempted escape. He still professes his commitment to radical causes.

Carlos Arroyo

Carlos Arroyo was arrested in May 2001 in Mexico City, framed by police for a robbery. He was beaten and tortured by police at the time of his arrest and faced a trial that involved fabrication of evidence against him. His original sentence was 15 years, subsequently reduced to 12. Prior to his arrest Carlos was involved in the anarchist community in Mexico City; he also participated in the university student strikes. It is likely that he was set up by the state as retaliation for his political activities. He was 22 at the time of his arrest. Carlos’ family is extremely poor and has been unable to shoulder the burden of legal expenses. They were scammed by two lawyers, which resulted in a loss of money, and also squandered all of Carlos’ chances for appeals. They have depended on the support of friends and are still greatly in need of financial assistance. Several benefit compilation tapes/cds have been made on Carlos’ behalf. Recently his sentence was reduced to 6 years based on his “good behavior.” There is a slim possibility that a new law in Mexico City could result in a further reduction of his sentence, but at this point he is scheduled for release in May 2006. In the meantime, Carlos is greatly in need of funds to provide resources for his family to continue visiting him, as well as to buy food in prison and bribe prison guards to avoid physical abuse. (Unfortunately Carlos cannot receive mail in jail as it has been repeatedly stolen by prison guards.)

Please take some time to write any of these prisoners a letter, or if you wish to donate on their behalf please contact us. Please use common sense when writing. Visit our website to learn more!

C.A.P.S. PO Box 22449 Oakland CA 94609 —