July 26 — The CNN Center was the site of a rally for the imprisoned freedom fighter, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown.
A national annual gathering of Muslims initiated by Al-Amin, the Riyaadah, was taking place here and brought supporters of the political prisoner from cities across the country, including Mobile, Ala., Washington, D.C., New York City and St. Louis.
A fearless leader of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) in the dangerously violent Jim Crow South, Brown built powerful campaigns for voting rights and local empowerment in rural Alabama in particular. He was targeted by the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO, under constant surveillance and harassment, was forced underground and sentenced to prison in New York state, where he converted to Islam.
Following his release, he moved to Atlanta’s West End where he successfully organized the community to challenge drug dealers, corrupt cops and absentee landlords who were abusing and destroying this historic Black neighborhood.
At the rally, pedestrians were handed leaflets detailing the elements of the frame-up of the well-known activist and religious leader in the March 2000 shooting death of a Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy and the wounding of a second. Al-Amin has consistently declared his innocence of the charges. Another man, Otis Jackson, has confessed to being the shooter.
There were numerous inconsistencies in the “evidence” presented by the state, including the surviving deputy’s description of the shooter as being 5’10’’ with “cold grey eyes.” The deputy insisted the perpetrator had been wounded in the exchange of gunfire. The 6’5’’ brown-eyed Al-Amin had no injuries when he was captured, but was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to life without parole.
Fearing Al-Amin’s influence among prisoners at the state institution where he was held, Georgia turned him over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2007. For the next seven years, Al-Amin was incarcerated in solitary confinement in Colorado’s supermax Florence ADX.
While his spirit has stayed strong, the years of medical neglect and harsh prison conditions have impacted Al-Amin’s health and spurred the movement to win his freedom.
The rally heard from a variety of national and local speakers, including Al-Amin’s son, Kairi, who called for a maximum effort to bring his father home because “we need his leadership now.”
There are plans for numerous educational outreach events to the public during the month of August and a national conference in Atlanta in October to mobilize a grassroots movement on his behalf.
For more information, go to imamjamilactionnetwork.weebly.com
or write Jamil Al-Amin #99974-555, USP Tucson US Penitentiary,
PO Box 24550, Tucson, AZ 85734.
Mathiowetz was an invited speaker at the rally, representing Workers World Party.