Continued Assaults on Asylum Seekers in Sofia Central Prison

On the 06/07/14 at 8.30am the guard Peter Petrov performed the morning roll call, he entered 11 cell and started shouting in Bulgarian, a language no one present understood. As the roll call finished for that cell he then started to assault a mentally ill man from behind as he was not moving fast enough. The mentally ill man is about 45kgs, about 55 years old and a citizen of Comoros. He then retaliated and slapped the guard back after the guard Peter Petrov hit him and kicked him again, the guard came at the Comoros Islander again and the African took a chair to keep the guard away from him. 3 other guards came and only saw the Comoros islander with the chair and so they beat him too. Peter Petrov then ran out of the cell, locked all the cell doors and called for “assistance”. Forty guards came from two work shifts, from the Saturday evening shift and the incoming Sunday day shift, as now shifts are 12 hours. The forty guards summarily beat everyone in the cell – the man from Comoros, 4 Afghanis, 1 Pakistani, 1 Dutch man and an Algerian. They were not resisting in any way and most of the wounds inflicted by the guards are on their backs as they tried to cover their faces on the ground.

The man from Comoros was most badly beaten, with a cut face, bleeding eye, bleeding nose, cut lips and swollen and cuts and swelling to his head. All over his body was covered in welts from the batons. The Pakistani too had welts and pink bruises as did the others in perfect shapes of batons, the Pakistani received a cut head and several of the Afghanis, apart from the welts on their backs and forearms, they had black and bleeding eyes. The seven men were beaten with batons, boots, they were stomped, hit and hit into walls and the ground.

The beating continued for about 20-30 minutes. The guards then indiscriminately started to break furniture used by prisoners for playing cards in the corridor.

After the bulk of the guards left, the guards called the prisoners Hisham Karmo and Budimir Kjovic, a Syrian national and a Serbian national. Together with the guards they wrote witness statements or “explanations” for the victims and intimidated the victims to sign the statements. The victims were told if they complained they would get extra prison sentences and that the guards would beat them again. In these “witness statements” written by Hisham and Budimir, it states that the Comoros man attacked the guard unprovoked and the guard had to defend himself. A deal was struck between

the Hisham and Budimir and the guard Peter Petrov and the rest of the guards that this would be the official version that Hisham and Budimir would testify to but also help maintain through intimidation of victims, Only the man from Comoros was allowed to see a doctor. As the official version of events did not include the other seven victims as having been assaulted they were not permitted to see a doctor for the entirety of Sunday. At 8.30pm the guards changed shifts and again the new guards would not allow the other 6 victims to see the duty doctor. On the same day as the assault the victims came to me (Jock Palfreeman) as the chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association and as a known human rights activist and asked me for help. I immediately called the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee to inform their chairman Krassimir Kanev of the assault and he supplied valuable legal advice as to how to proceed.

With prisoners acting as translators the victims wrote real statements testifying the details of the assault free of intimidation by the prison’s auxiliary bullies. we brought many prisoners together and discussed how to proceed, many prisoners supported the victims and we promised to support the victims if any prisoner working for the prison administration tried to intimidate them or use physical violence to silence them.

On 07/07/14 (the next day) members of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee came to meet with the victims, they took their statements and conveyed an official complaint to the prosecutor’s office. The members of the Helsinki Committee then personally escorted the victims to the prison infirmary and supervised as medical injury reports were written, although copies of said medical reports were not made or given to the victims or their representatives. The evening of the 07/07/14 the guard Peter Petrov was returned to work in 10th continue his attempt to intimidate me, Jock Palfreeman, as he had been informed of my complaint against him the previous Wednesday (02/07/14) after he assaulted me by kicking me with his boots, hitting me with a large metal key, pushing and pulling me in an attempt to provoke physical confrontation. However I did not react as the man from Comoros did, had I, I would have suffered the same fate as the other victims. I realised that this guard is highly violent and dangerous.

Whether it was his character or he was a racist or he was drunk or on drugs no one could say but I realised after he assaulted me on two separate occasions that the assaults would continue and only get worse. So on 03/07/14 I sent a complaint to the Director of the prison Peter Krester and a request to have this violent and dangerous guard moved from our block.

No measures were taken and the guard Peter Petrov 4 days later subsequently attacked the man from Comoros and instigated the mass assault on the other seven victims.

I, Jock Palfreeman, have now again become a target of Peter Petrov, the guard and as of the date of writing this, 09/07/14, the prison authorities have failed to take any measures to prevent the guards from assaulting prisoners or to protect me or the other 8 victims.

The assault on the 8 men was extremely vicious and so I started the explanations from that point as opposed to the first assaults upon myself.

PS

On the 10/07/14 (Thursday), the guard Peter Petrov was moved to a different part of the prison.

On 14/07/14 representatives from the Ombudsman’s office entered the prison to conduct an investigation into the mass assault, they met with the victims and witnesses and briefly with myself.

On 16/07/14 the vice-minister of justice, responsible specifically for the running of prisons met with the victims of the mass assault. Although there are concerns about the Vice-Minister’s personal connections with Budimir Kjovic who was also called to the meeting as a friend of the Vice-Minister of Justice.

On 17/07/14 the state prosecutor met with the victims to collect their statements from them personally.

The continued pressure and intimidation from the prisoners Budimir Kjovic and Hisham Karmo upon the victims to give false testimonies is a continuing concern, not to mention their attempt to also intimidate me into not showing solidarity to the victims. It just another example of mafia criminals working with the state apparatus of oppression. The prison allows these bullies to continue their drug businesses within the prison, the prison staff take a cut and in exchange it is in their interest to protect the prison administration and guards as they provide the protection for their business.

Earlier this year a Director Yosofifov, director of work and pay of Sofia Central Prison was arrested along with the friend of Budimir Kjovic for trafficking contraband into the prison, earlier this month the director Yosofifov was formally fired for violating the ethics code.

There can never be any compromise with violators of human rights and mafia!

When injustice becomes law
Resistance becomes duty

Jock Palfreeman

Chairman, Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association

Free Marius Jacob Mason

We would like to let everyone know that Marius Jacob Mason will no longer be using the name Marie, and will be using male pronouns. We hope that you will all join us in supporting Marius through this transition, which will no doubt be extra challenging within the prison system. Until his name is legally changed, any mail sent to Marius in prison will still need to be addressed to ‘Marie Mason’ on the envelope. This goes for donations also. Please write to Marius at this time! Receiving supportive and friendly mail makes a world of difference. Below is a statement read out by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, one of Marius’ legal representatives, at a solidarity event organized by New York City ABC recently.

“My name is Moira Meltzer-Cohen. I’m an attorney working with a person of immense courage and integrity, someone who struggles for liberation and self-determination on behalf of other people, non-human animals, and life on Earth itself. This is someone whose courage and integrity are made even more salient by the fact that their own liberation and their own autonomy have long been severely circumscribed.

Even more than most people in prison, my client and those in their unit face rigid, arbitrary constraints on communication and expression that impact every part of their lives. But even more – I want you to imagine how difficult it would be if all your struggles toward liberation and autonomy were taking place not only in a prison, but in a world that always targets trans people for further violence, confinement, and abuse.

I am proud to be working with Marius Jacob Mason to change their name to the one that reflects his masculine gender identity.

It is my sincere hope that this announcement does not serve as any kind of excuse for argument or debate – it should be self-evident that trans-exclusion is indefensible in any movement claiming to move us toward collective liberation. If we are serious about liberation and autonomy, it is incumbent upon us to take seriously that all our various struggles are mutually implicated, that earth liberation and trans liberation are not simply mutually compatible, but that achievement of each is a necessary condition for the satisfaction of the other.

So I want to call on “us” – anarchists, allies, environmental justice advocates – let us acknowledge Marius’ gender now, not only for Marius’ sake, but for the sake of our collective liberation. This transition not only does not undermine the importance of Marius’ environmental and other social commitments – it is further evidence of his commitment to justice, and bravery in the face of repressive and destructive systems. It has not been and will not be easy for Marius to transition while in custody of the most heinous part of the U.S. prison system.

But we can make this process a little easier by supporting his gender identity, by using the appropriate masculine pronouns and his correct name, writing to him and other incarcerated trans folks, providing meaningful social support, and funding legal battles and medical needs both in and out of prison. We have an opportunity as a community to demonstrate conclusively that we are strong, that we understand the mutual implications of all forms of oppression, and that we can reject the subordination of any cause to another. I want to also remind you that because transpeople are disproportionately and aggressively policed, there are many many folks in prison who need your support, including one I want to highlight, Jane Doe, a 16 year-old trans girl who is being held without charges in Connecticut. You can find more information at facebook/justice4janeCT. You can find information about incarcerated trans people at SRLP.org, and more information about Marius Jacob Mason at supportmariemason.org

Donate in solidarity with the SOCPA7

1482196_1405276430.607

Click here to donate: http://www.gofundme.com/socpa7

A supporter is running the Bournemouth Marathon on October 5th 2014 to raise money for the SOCPA7 – seven campaigners accused of conspiracy to commit SOCPA 145 in relation to SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty), the international campaign to close down HLS (Huntingdon Life Sciences). They are facing 5 years in prison for protesting against animal testing.

HLS is the Europe’s largest contract animal-testing laboratory. They carry out experiments which involve poisoning animals with household products, pesticides, drugs, herbicides, food colourings and additives, sweeteners and genetically modified organisms.

Every three minutes an animal dies inside Huntingdon totaling 500 innocent lives every single day.

HLS have been repeatedly exposed for horrendous animal cruelty. The SHAC campaign has been so effective that HLS has been driven to bankruptcy.

Due to vested interests in the vivisection industry, the UK Government stepped in to help HLS. They provided financial help and introduced new laws to target anti-vivisection campaigners.

For more information about the SOCPA7 please visit http://www.socpa7.org/defendants.html

Thank you very much for your support,
Until all are free!

Kevin & Tyler indicted on federal charges

UPDATED (7/17): Statements from Tyler and Kevin included below 

Regarding the AETA indictment of Tyler Lang & Kevin Olliff

First, let’s acknowledge the timing of this event: We’re well aware that arresting Tyler Lang on an indictment of federal charges was coordinated to coincide with the annual National Animal Rights Conference and the Fight or Flight Tour fundraiser. It was the FBI’s blatant and clumsy attempt to scare activists, create divisiveness, and deter Tyler and others from the above-ground activism they practice. But word of the event spread quickly—not only among attendees at the LA conference, but throughout the country’s network of animal advocates—and one thing is resoundingly clear: we’re angry, but we’re not shaken.

Last summer, ten fur farms were raided in ten weeks, resulting in more than 10,000 mink, foxes, and even a rare bobcat being freed from certain death at the hands of fur farmers. And since the beginning of the government’s resulting witch hunt—when Kevin and Tyler were arrested in the course of a routine traffic stop on a road trip last August, when Kevin’s ID came up with a “domestic terrorist” flag—we’ve all known that law enforcement has been trying to connect dots that they simply cannot. We’re in the midst of what the FBI is attempting to make into a classic AETA prosecution. And the activist community is all too familiar with the insidiousness and inaccuracy that underpins this law…

Ultimately, we want it known that Kevin and Tyler are not faltering. They’re aware of their position, they’re confident in the facts, and they want to make sure other activists are not set off course by these incidents.

“This is not an indictment against two activists. It’s an attempt to indict an entire movement in the eyes of the public. The fur industry confines and kills millions of animals every year for fashion—but the American government points the finger and calls animal advocates violent. I certainly believe people are savvy enough to see the truth.” —Kevin Olliff
“The recent charges brought against Kevin and me are not only wrong but egregious. When we think of terrorism, we think of violence being committed against individuals. The government’s “terrorist” targeting of two friends with a history of speaking out against injustice is an affront to the meaning of what violence really is, and a slap in the face to a public that sadly knows what terrorism actually looks like.” —Tyler Lang

Funds are needed NOW for attorney fees and Kevin’s ongoing state prison support. Please donate via the PayPal link or Donations page.

***

Please send Kevin a letter of support:

Kevin Johnson, M42382
Danville Correctional Center
3820 E. Main St.
Danville, IL 61834

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting arraignment on the federal charges.

Support Jailed Mi’kmaq Warriors – Verdict & Sentencing Updates

From http://reclaimturtleisland.com

Our Mi’kmaq warriors are requesting the assistance of the people for help. They are requiring some assistance with their canteen funds. Germain junior Breau and Aaron Francis, members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society have been incarcerated and held as political prisoners of war since the raid of their encampment in incensed unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory on October 17th, 2013.  They were both found guilty of weapons-related charges on June 26th 2014. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25th, 2014.

Junior Breau was found guilty of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and 5 counts of pointing a firearm. Not guilty of 5 counts assaulting police with a firearm.

Aaron was found guilty of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He was found not guilty of throwing Molotovs,  intent to do bodily harm by causing an explosive device to explode, possession of explosives while prohibited to do so, and committing an offense while having his face masked.

They are currently the only two political prisoners of war in so-called Canada. They made a stance to not only protect the indigenous women, elders and children in their inherent territories but they were also defending the sacred land and waters for all people. They made their stance for the liberation of the Mi’kmaq nation and for the liberation of all indigenous people all over the world. To support our warriors please contact Suzanne Patles 902 217 0608 or Patty Crow 506 229 0373 or via Facebook inbox
Email transfers can be sent to healing_crow2010 [at] hotmail [dot] com

You can also organize a letter writing night, send in reading materials (like awesome zines from ZigZag  but no staples, glue, glitter or adhesives) or host a fundraiser!

Money can be sent directly to our men via Canada post money order and sends money order along with your letter of support

You could also write a warrior:
Germain junior Breau / Aaron Francis
S.R.C.C; 435 Lino rd; Shediac NB; E4P 0H6 Canada

Call For International Solidarity With Anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman

A few days ago Australian anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman was assaulted in Sofia Central Prison in Bulgaria (he says it was not “too badly”) but yesterday July 6 the same guard assaulted another prisoner, an elderly man, and some of that man’s compatriots came to his assistance. These seven were then set upon by 40 guards, who brutally beat them.

Jock, in his role of secretary of the Bulgarian Prisoners Association, phoned a number of lawyers to help defend those assaulted. Now Jock has been threatened by the same prison guard has threatened him with another beating.

It is no surprise that not only Jock’s role within the prison with the Bulgarian
Prisoners Association but also because of the various days of action for Jock being organised around the globe to highlight his case. You can contact the Bulgarian prison authorities details below or organise a protest at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

Addresses to post, fax and email your letters of protest to:
Krassimira Vocheva
Head Prosecutor-Sofia
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Sofia
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter
NB: the fields on the form translate as:
To:
Name & Surname:
Full address:
Phone:
Your email:
Complaint or question (10000 characters):
Code:

Borish Velchev
Head Prosecutor-Sofia
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Sofia
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: 2 Aleksander Zhendov Str
Sofia 1040
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 2 948 2999
www.mfa.bg/en/contact (ready form for sending messages from their website, very
helpful)

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria LONDON
186-188 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5HL
Tel.: (0044) (0) 207 584 9400, (0) 207 584 9433
Fax: (0044) (0) 207 584 4948
Email: information@bulgarianembassy.org.uk

Information, Public Relations and European Communication Directorate
Director: Sofia Vladimirova
Tel: +359 2 971 1408. OR +359 2 971 3778. OR +359 2 948 2218.
Fax: +359 2 870 3041
Email: iprd@mfa.government.bg

Ministry’s Reception Desk
Tel: +359 2 948 2018 or +359 2 971 1054
(opening hrs 09.30 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00)

Ministry of Justice
No 1 Slavanska st
Sofia 1040
BULGARIA
Email: pr@justice.government.bg

Finally, please write to Jock, even if it’s only a ‘good luck’ postcard. Any letters
and postcards will help to keep Jock’s spirit up and feeling positive. All will be
gratefully received. You can write to Jock at the following address:

Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison,
21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
Sofia 1309,
h2. BULGARIA

Greece Prisoner Hunger Strike Suspended

Suspension of pan-hellenic hunger strike. Today, Tuesday July 1st, we suspend the mass pan-hellenic hunger strike we had begun against the legislation for the high security prisons. We suspend the hunger strike, but we do not end our mobilization. On the contrary, we are regaining our powers and warn the ministry that we will not accept the functioning of the greek Guantanamo in Domokos or anywhere. We remain suspicious towards the improvement propositions of the ministry that will be deposited on Thursday and we are ready if necessary to fight with EVERY MEAN to cancel the legislation-abnormity for the high security prisons.

We know that nothing would have been improved if we did not do the hunger strike. But the ministry should know that against the organized silence imposed by the Mass Media by hiding the BIGGEST HUNGER STRIKE ever (4500 prisoners on hunger strike), from now on, we change the means of struggle and if necessary we will continue with stronger forms of resistance. An intelligent being will understand.. initiative commission of prison struggle.

Prison Struggle Committee