Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake,' US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with sale of warship to Russia

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Americas

Black Panther leaves US jail after 41 years in solitary

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-02

Terminally ill former Black Panther, Herman Wallace, who spent 41 years in solitary confinement for murder, was set free Tuesday after a Louisiana judge reversed his controversial 1974 conviction.

A 71-year-old former Black Panther who spent 41 years in solitary confinement and is now dying of cancer was released late Tuesday from a Louisiana prison, his lawyers said.

US District Chief Judge Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, denied the state’s motion seeking to block his earlier order overturning Herman Wallace’s 1974 murder conviction over the death of Angola jail prison guard Brent Miller.

Jackson also ordered a new trial because women were unconstitutionally excluded from the grand jury that indicted Wallace in the guard’s death.

Wallace and two other inmates who were convicted of the 23-year-old guard’s murder became known as the “Angola 3”.

Wallace, from New Orleans, was serving a 50-year armed robbery sentence when Miller was fatally stabbed in 1972. Wallace and the two other prisoners were subsequently moved to isolation at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Wallace was recently moved to the prison’s hospital unit.

‘Cruel, inhuman and degrading’

Amnesty International USA last year delivered a petition to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s office, containing 65,000 signatures from people around the world who called the men’s solitary confinement inhuman and degrading.

The group’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins, welcomed the court’s ruling involving Wallace. “Tragically, this step toward justice has come as Herman is dying from cancer with only days or hours left to live,” he said in a statement. “No ruling can erase the cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions he endured for more than 41 years.”

Wallace’s attorneys said the freed prisoner left a correctional centre in St. Gabriel by ambulance on Tuesday evening and was expected to go to LSU Interim Hospital in New Orleans for treatment of advanced terminal liver cancer.

George Kendall, one of Wallace’s lawyers, told The Associated Press in an earlier telephone interview the decision gave his client “some measure of justice after a lifetime of injustice.”

“He’s pleased,” Kendall said of Wallace’s reaction after hearing of Tuesday’s ruling, “but he’s quite ill.”

‘Unconstitutional solitary confinement’

Kendall said his client has asked that, after his demise, they continue to press the lawsuit challenging Wallace’s “unconstitutional solitary confinement for four decades.”

“It is Mr. Wallace’s hope that this litigation will help ensure that others, including his lifelong friend and fellow ‘Angola 3’ member, Albert Woodfox, do not continue to suffer such cruel and unusual confinement even after Mr. Wallace is gone.”

Woodfox and Wallace consistently denied involvement in Miller’s killing and say they were targeted because they helped establish a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party at the Angola prison in 1971, set up demonstrations and organised strikes for better conditions in the prison.

The third man, Robert King, was released after 29 years in solitary confinement. King, convicted of killing a fellow inmate in 1973, was released in 2001 after his conviction was reversed and he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-10-02

COMMENT(S)