Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials in US for censoring human rights advocacy

January 26, 2014

Robert Saleem Holbrook, web

The Human Rights Coalition (HRC), prisoner Robert Saleem Holbrook (pictured above) and College of Charleston Professor Kristi Brian brought a lawsuit on 8 January against employees of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) in the USA for confiscation of mail sent to Holbrook, a co-founder of HRC. “It is long overdue that prison officials are held to account for their attempts to silence those who speak out against this abusive system. The rights, health and lives of our loved ones are at stake.” HRC-Philadelphia activist Patricia Vickers stated. This lawsuit challenges the ability of PA DOC officials to target political dissent and human rights defenders with censorship.

The lawsuit details a series of confiscations of Holbrook’s mail since January 2012 that includes academic correspondence with a college professor and issues of The Movement, essays written by Angela Y. Davis and James Baldwin, a newsletter published by HRC which focuses on prison abuse, solitary confinement and ways that prisoners’ family members can come together to challenge human rights abuses and injustice in the criminal legal system (such as juveniles sentenced to die in prison, deaths in solitary confinement, repression of human rights defenders inside prisons). Plaintiff Robert Saleem Holbrook, a 39-year-old prisoner who is serving a sentence of life without parole for a conviction imposed when he was 16 years old, wrote about prison censorship in an article published in October 2012, “Censorship on the Prison Plantation: Extinguishing Dissent”:

[T]he prison mailroom supervisor at the prison I am incarcerated in (SCI Coal Township) reflexively denies all books by Black or Latino authors that provide a radical critique of prisons, as well as all publications that contain articles written by prisoners that critique prisons from an adversarial position. Every issue of the Human Rights Coalition newsletter “The Movement” has been denied by this institution, as well as informational brochures and flyers related to HRC’s advocacy on behalf of prisoners.

San Francisco Bay View » Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials for censoring political dissent and human rights advocacy.

One Response to “Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials in US for censoring human rights advocacy”

  1. […] Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials in US for censoring human rights advocacy […]

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