Experiences of an anarchist prisoner on how to survive jail in Belarus

Dear all,

The following recording has been made by the Anarchist Group Dortmund
(in cooperation with A-Radio Berlin) during a presentation on March 6, 2016.

In it the former anarchist prisoner from Belarus Mikalai Dziadok shares
his prison experiences and gives some advice on how to survive the jail.
Total helplessness, psychological pressure, stupid convicts‘ laws,
ever-lasting prison terms – this is what Belarusian prison is made of.

You’ll find the audio (to listen online or download in different sizes)
here:
aradio.blogsport.de/2016/03/28/a-radio-…/

Length: 1:29 h

You can find other English and Spanish language audios here:
aradio.blogsport.de/englishcastellano/.

Among our last audios you can find:

Enjoy! And please feel free to share!

A-Radio Berlin

ps.: We are now on Twitter! Please feel welcome to follow us at
@aradio_berlin!
ps2.: Please note: We are always looking for people willing to lend us a
hand with transcriptions and translations from Spanish or German into
English as well as people able to do voice recordings – in order to
amplify our international radio work. You can contact us at
aradio-berlin/at/riseup(dot)net!

Osman Evcan update

abcistanbul.blogspot.com.tr/2016/03/more-then-vegan-package-no-surrender.html

Osman Evcan who was born on 1959 in Samsun is an anarchist prisoner who spent his last 23 years in prison. İn 1992 he was sentenced to 30 years in prison with the charges of being a member of a leftist terrorist group and robbery. He was also imprisoned for 9 years between 1980-1989. Since Osman adopted anarchist ideas in 2003, he also became vegan and supports animal liberation struggles.

Osman Evcan was imprisoned in many different prisons all over the country during his conviction, he built his life fighting against authoritarian violence and especially the violence and oppression which is a systemic part of the prison’s hierarchical structure, and he still continues his fight against prison’s oppressive mentality, without giving an inch, aspiring to the right standards for anarchist, vegan, libertarian individuals.

Osman’s first barnburner act was his hunger strike in 2011 for vegan food to be available in prison which lasted 42 days. During his hunger strike the anarchists, animal liberationists from all over the World and in Turkey supported Osman’s fight to access vegan food in prison. After 42 days of hunger strike the government gave in and made regulations for the vegan and vegetarian prisoners: “Vegan or vegetarian prisoners demands will be accepted as long as its limited by subsistence allowance”. After this victory of all anarchists, animal liberationists and political prisoners, Osman continued to be in the anarchist struggle during his time in prison. He has supported the LGBT, Animal Liberation, women rights, anti imperialism struggles outside prison and he made hunger strikes to protest the animal massacre during each ‘feast of sacrifice’ every year for 3 days, he wrote articles to support nature, ethnic and different identities against government’s and comprador bourgeoisie’s raids and he still continues his political fight as much as he can from prison.

Osman Evcan was convicted of being a member of a leftist terrorist group, he self-criticized himself by saying that both capitalist and socialist system forms for being are statist and colonist formations. To quote his own words: “Veganism is not only a capitalism contrast it also includes socialism contrast. Veganism is civilization contrast. Veganism has an all out attitude against technological destruction, violence, human species alienation to nature and to itself, ecological pillage, pollution, colonialism, global warming. Act of civilization has a common history with statist forms of organizations. The idea of a state grown up process starting from primitive-simple history ongoing modernization continuum for thousands of years and transforming to nation state is a result of civilization. We cant separate This ongoing, mutually reinforcing facts that produce each other, from each other. Veganism is a radical attitude against all…”
After his hunger strike for 33 days on June 2015 he took vegan food supplies one step further and he gained the right to get vegan food from outside the prisons. The prison administration usurped this gain due to arbitrarily reasons.
After usurpation of the right to get vegan food from outside the prison by the Kandıra No: 1 Prison administration, Osman Evcan started hunger strike again on 10. November 2015 and after 39 days the prison administration gave him back his acquisitions. But soon afterwards, early in the morning Osman Evcan was exiled to Silivri L TYP prison by force and with the excuse of packness he was put in to a short stay unit which lacks a exercise yard. After he was brought to this prison by force no food was given to him for 4 days and afterwards the food given to him was not good enough for a healthy alimentation. Despite the fact that he wrote petitions tens of times, no answer was given.
Osman Evcan is jailed with ordinary prisoners. So it means that the rights that the political prisoners won through their struggles for years doesn’t exist in this prison. An example for this can be the cameras in the cells. Osman Evcan who mentions that he will never allow this kind of control and surveillance tool in his cell, tries to neutralize this practice by breaking or changing the route of the cameras. But the reaction of the prison administration to this act , is to enforce factual disciplinary punishments like visiting ban of the family members. Also as the result of disciplinary punishments he will have solitary confinement for 12 days.
In addition to these, this prisons amount of allowed books in a cell is limited only with 10 books. So if you consider the fact that in prisons it is not allowed to reach the fast information sources like internet, most of his books will consist of basic books. We can say that almost no opportunity to read something new is given to the prisoners.
Also the State is not only deciding the amount of the books you can read but also the State decides which book you are allowed to read. This is also a method to put the prisoners (the prisoners they imprison in order to regenerate and re-form) in the shape they want them to be. By making them watch the channels, read the books, magazines they want, they think they can get everything they want in the way they want, through prisoners head. Not to give the publications wanted is preclusion of the right to get free political information.
They are not giving any information to prisoners about their letters and faxes delivery status. This is paving the way for the prison authorities to not to send the letters arbitrarily. And also along with this communication ban, the obscurity situation becomes permanent and constant oppression is created. By keeping the body in a stable place, all the instruments needed to continue existing is disengaged.
With this hunger strike, Osman Evcan is showing the State that he is not obeying, surrendering, to their oppressions and practices in prison. Accepting means to destroy your own identity, your own existence. Only way to discharge political identities is to control behaviours. The outpicture of political identities are hunger strikes. And the state responds to this hunger strikes by keeping the body in a stable place and by disengaging all the instruments needed to continue existing. If The ones who must obey does not obey, the State reveals witch hunt politics visually. This is exactly what is desired to be done to Osman: silent extermination of psychology and body.
Osman’s fight is to not to let his identity to be destroyed, and to show that he will not surrender under the State’ s tools pressures. To lay down the body to death means not surrendering. It means to live without loosing your identity and to leave acquisitions to successors. Osman’s fight is more then a vegan package: it’s a war to exist.

Osman Evcan: Victory on the 45th day of Hunger Strik

Osman Evcan gained the victory from the determined struggle which he put his life against the state inside the thick walls of prison which he is enclosed. Osman, got everything he demanded through this hard period without surrendering to the state. Osman Evcan ended his indefinite hunger strike which took 45 days against intimidation, torture and extermination politics against prisoners and again he proved us that how he is right about his call to raise struggle. He continued his resistance resolutely by choosing to die with honour is the only reason why he’s demands are excepted.

The State’s “punishment” system and their officials that made comrade Osman Evcan suffer hunger for 45 days and tortured him are our enemies. The recognized demands of Osman Evcan are not a matter of grace, instead that is the end of torturous practices. Torture is a state policy. He is grateful to everyone who have held demonstrations, spoken up, and support for Osman Evcan’s cause. Osman Evcan is now trying to get over the adverse effects of the hunger strike process, and his present health condition is fine. We will share the message from Osman Evcan soon.

With anarchist solidarity,

ABC İstanbul

abcistanbul.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/victory-on-45-day-on-hunger-strike.html

Learning from the Heathrow 13: Reflections on struggle, repression and prison

heathrow1

This is an article by Free to Fight, a collective of anarchist organisers based in England who have experienced the impacts of repression first hand. We have served lengthy prison and suspended prison sentences for our involvement in animal liberation campaigning and continue to organise support for friends and comrades still experiencing state repression today.

We want to express our full solidarity with and support for the Heathrow13. Being prosecuted and facing prison is a harrowing and personal experience that affects everyone differently. Our thoughts are with the defendants and we hope they’re able to begin recovering from this intense and worrying time. This article is not directed at them as individuals, it is aimed at wider social justice movements. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we would like to add our thoughts to the mainstream discourse circulating around this case.

As many of you will have seen yesterday was the sentencing of the ‘Heathrow13’; thirteen climate change activists that took part in a lock-on on a runway at Heathrow Airport, stopping flights for a number of hours, in protest at the proposed building of a new runway at the airport.

We were delighted to know that these 13 people weren’t subjected to the trauma of prison yesterday and can remain free to fight on the outside, be with their loved ones and continue to raise important issues about aviation and climate injustice. This article is intended to ask critical questions about repression, power, privilege and prison and how we respond to these complex challenges.

Repression has, and will, effect every social movement in history, all over the world. We humbly want to contribute our experiences to the conversation. The animal liberation movement, particularly anti-vivisection campaigning, has unquestionably received the greatest state repression of any left wing political struggle in the UK in recent years. Dozens of organisers have experienced long prison sentences, harsh bail and licence conditions and intimidation, as well as harassment and surveillance by the police, infiltrators and corporate interests.

The movement has been crushed by repression and is still struggling to rebuild itself from the damage that has been caused. In looking at our response to this repression, we can see that our biggest mistakes were our narrow political understanding, failure to anticipate and withstand legal repercussions and the lack of importance we placed on solidarity and personal support. The animal liberation movement was demonised in the media and did not have the power or privilege to contest the political commentary engineering our downfall. With multiple comrades imprisoned, and those on the outside terrified and unsupported, huge lessons were learnt about what to do and what not to do in responding to repression.

We’d like to share our insights in the hopes that the lessons we’ve learned can help organisers from all anti-oppression movements to be better prepared for facing repression.

Repression is more than prison

After running a necessity defence against the charge of Aggravated Trespass, the Heathrow 13 were found guilty and told to expect immediate custodial sentences. The defendants have received an incredible outpouring of support from the environmental movement, green campaigners, local residents and high profile individuals.

At their sentencing yesterday they were each given 6 weeks in prison suspended for 1 year, along with varying lengths of community service. This means that they will not be going to jail for now, but if they’re convicted of another offence within the 1 year period, they’ll automatically serve the 6 weeks in prison, along with any punishment for the new offence. Although it was great to hear that the Heathrow13 weren’t jailed yesterday, seeing suspended sentences being celebrated demonstrates that we need to work on our political understanding and awareness of the different forms of repression.

With one of our collective being just over half way through a two year suspended prison sentence, we know that this is not a victory of justice or a happy end to the personal struggle of being prosecuted. Instead of doing a few weeks or months inside, suspended sentences can be used to punish and control people for a much longer period. For something like aggravated trespass, which has a maximum sentence of 3 months, people can face restrictions and the ongoing threat and worry of being imprisoned for years – often without the movement and personal support that political prisoners receive while inside.

As with time spent on bail, defendants can be isolated from their movements, forgotten by their comrades and left with the seemingly endless worry of a prison sentence hanging over them. We like to make martyrs of our prisoners, but fail to know how to support people through the more tedious and drawn out forms of repression.

These less news worthy forms of punishment can also have a greater deterrent effect on social movements. Seeing people receive a few weeks in prison, amidst outpourings of support and outrage from the public and fellow campaigners can mobilise us into action and drive us to want to resist this acute injustice. But seeing our comrades disappear from activism for months, withdrawn, worried and isolated, ignored by the media and the movement at large doesn’t provide the same motivation. We have to remember repression is more than just prison, it’s all the tools in the toolkit that are used to prevent social movements from achieving their goals, and it has inevitable political, practical, social and emotional impacts on us all.

Privilege, Power and the Prison Industrial Complex

This sentencing has been celebrated as a victory and show of common sense from the justice system. The rhetoric around this case has said that these are moral, professional and qualified people who don’t deserve to go to prison for their actions. Guardian articles share their portraits, highlight their backgrounds and indicate their higher education achievements. For most people going to prison, they are unable to use this kind of privilege to their advantage. Even in political cases, those from working class backgrounds are unable to share letters from Barristers, or Head teachers at Private Schools, they are not able to use the discourse of the concerned middle class citizen, and as such are subject to harsher sentencing than even some of their co-defendants in the same cases. We have to acknowledge the consequences of this approach and how it might affect the next people on the stand and those that can’t play this card.

The second worldview which flickers around facebook is that somehow the British justice system is fair and integral to its’ fairness is our right to protest. Therefore it would be an outrage if peaceful protesters were imprisoned as no environmental activists have ever been sent to prison for non-violent protests. It feeds this idea that we have moved on from disproportionate punishment of political campaigners – the state’s harsh treatment of dissidents like the suffragettes has been consigned to history. This discourse is untrue and shows a dangerous lack of awareness of the history of political struggle and continuing repression of social movements. As well as the harmful disconnect between ‘political’ and ‘normal’ people when it comes to struggling against dominant forces.

The British Justice system is a racist, sexist, violent institution and the frontline of warfare against working class communities. We were inspired to see banners at court linking climate change to colonialism, and read inspiring articles written by the defendants that talk about the impacts of climate change on people in the Global South. Working class solidarity is needed in the UK, where we have the most privatised prison system in Europe, where people are being locked up for profit, where every single day thousands of people are harmed by the prison industrial complex. Violence, beatings, self-harm, drug abuse, rape and sexual assault, suicide and just the simple brutality of being caged are all endemic in our prison system. Prison is inherently violent, and it’s the tool of a violent state that serves the capitalists who are the real ones profiting from aviation and environmental destruction.

We are relieved that the Heathrow13 do not have to enter those prison gates, but we cannot forget the 85,636 people that are there, mostly for being poor. We have to dismantle the discourse of deserving and undeserving and challenge entire systems of interlinked oppression if we are to truly achieve radical change.

State Violence & the inevitability of Repression

Unfortunately, as the animal liberation movement has seen, if a group becomes effective in challenging the interests of the state, increasing repression is inevitable. When SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) campaigners were close to driving HLS (Huntingdon Life Sciences), Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory, into closure, the pharmaceutical industry told the UK government that they must step in, or they would move their business abroad. Not wanting to suffer this economic loss, the UK government introduced new laws (SOCPA 145 and 146) and began reinterpreting pre-existing laws (‘conspiracy to blackmail’ and the use of injunctions) to use against anti-vivisection campaigners. With the biggest police operation in UK history being organised against SHAC, dozens of people were arrested and sent to prison, with unprecedented long sentences of up to 11 years. You can read more about the impact and repression of SHAC on the blog SHAC Made History.

The targeting of SHAC may be a perfect example of an effective grassroots campaign being shut down by the state, but it’s just one in the ongoing state silencing of anyone who poses a threat to the economy or their power.

Finally, we don’t have the word count left to go into the ‘violent/non-violent’ debate. However we’d suggest people read Peter Gelderloos’ text on How Non Violence Protects the State.

For the Heathrow 13, we are sure that there will be tears of relief and deep breaths, as well as thoughts of what to do next now the haunting feeling of prison is lifted (for now at least).

Now is the time to escalate not only our struggles for social and environmental justice, but to place these struggles in the bigger context of confronting capitalism, the state and its prison society. It is also the time to escalate our solidarity for all our comrades that are behind bars or experiencing repression in different ways all over the world.

Until All Are Free!
Free to Fight Collective, February 2016

Italy: 3 comrades arrested for the struggle against Brindisi detention centre

From: http://rabble.org.uk/italy-3-comrades-arrested-for-the-struggle-against-brindisi-detention-centre/

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Via Act for Freedom Now.

We receive and spread:

Following a greeting in front of the CIE of Brindisi – Restinco three comrades of Lecce were arrested on charges of resistance and non-authorized demonstration. They are now under house arrest. Below the leaflet distributed during the march that took place on January 10 in the city centre in solidarity with the arrested:

Since the beginning of October 2015, in the district of Restinco in Brindisi, a CIE(immigration detention centre for identification and expulsion) is open again after several revolts of those locked up inside had rendered it unfit for use.

The CIE are true concentration camps where undocumented immigrants are detained. Life in a CIE is made up of harassment by soldiers and police and good earnings for the management bodies: in the case of Restinco, the cooperative Auxilium.

Since the reopening of the centre some comrades often went outside those walls to bring solidarity to those locked up. After repeatedly being held by police, on Saturday, Jan. 9, three of them were arrested on charges of illegal demonstration and resisting a public official. We would reiterate that the main goal of repression is to make sure that this camp remains a place of segregation totally isolated and unknown to most people.
Who is indifferent is complicit in these camps.

AGAINST BORDERS, ALL FREE, FIRE TO THE CIE !!

—————————————-

From informa-azione
11/01/2016  Translated by act for freedom now

Cardiff: Pete and Josh free, acquitted of all charges

 Article from: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/men-accused-violent-disorder-after-10733879
Joshua Longbottom (left) and Peter Simpson were acquitted of violent disorder and ABH
Joshua Longbottom (left) and Peter Simpson were acquitted of violent disorder and ABH

Two men accused of violent disorder after protesters occupied a Cardiff bank on May Day last year have been acquitted.

Joshua Longbottom, 26 – also known as Joshua Howe – and Peter Simpson, 30, were accused of having a confrontation with police at the HSBC branch in Queen Street on May 2 last year.

Demonstrators had been involved in a peaceful May Day march in the city centre organised by Cardiff Uncut and Cardiff Trades Council.

Cardiff Crown Court previously heard that a small minority broke off from the main march and occupied the Queen Street bank where they shouted slogans and protests.

Longbottom was accused of assaulting a police officer and Simpson was accused of trying to prevent Longbottom’s arrest.

‘Acting instinctively’

Both were arrested and taken to Cardiff Bay police station.

Longbottom and Simpson, both of Clifton Street, Adamsdown , Cardiff, were accused of violent disorder and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).

They both denied the charges against them and argued they were “acting instinctively” to protect themselves.

During the trial Judge Michael Fitton QC gave the jury a direction to find Longbottom and Simpson not guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) as the evidence could no longer sustain the allegation.

On Thursday the jury found both men not guilty.

Read more: Anarchist protest at Cardiff bank was ‘serious piece of mob violence’, say prosecutors

‘Peaceful protest’

During the trial both men gave their accounts of what happened at what Longbottom called a “peaceful protest”.

He told the court joined the protest at the end of St Mary Street and entered the HSBC bank along with other protesters when they reached Queen Street.

He said: “I thought we were going to hand out some leaflets and maybe try and engage with some members of the public.

“We all lined up against the back wall and someone started making a speech about HSBC and tax. There was nothing untoward.”

After spending 15 minutes in the bank Longbottom said he approached the entrance to hand leaflets to members of the public who had been refused entry to the bank as it had closed.

The defendant then claimed he was shoved by a police officer and was refused re-entry.

A picture showing the May Day 2015 anti-austerity march in Cardiff's Mill Lane. Those pictured were not involved in the trial

A picture showing the May Day 2015 anti-austerity march in Cardiff’s Mill Lane. Those pictured were not involved in the trial

Defendant claimed he was thrown to floor by police

When he tried to get back into the bank he claims he was grabbed by the officer who tried to shove him back out.

Longbottom said: “I wanted to finish my protest and I felt it was unfair they wouldn’t let me back in.”

When he tried to get back into the bank he claimed he was grabbed and “thrown to the floor” by an officer before later being warned he could be Tasered.

He claimed he sustained bruising to his collar bone, chest and arms as a result of his arrest.

Simpson said he saw Longbottom on the floor and believed he was being “attacked” and added: “I was concerned by the level or force being used by police officers.

“An officer had come down on top of Joshua. It just seemed really sudden and I was shocked by it. I was trying to figure out what was going on.”

Simpson also claimed to have been grabbed and elbowed by a police officer during the incident.

Speaking after the acquittal, Mr Simpson said: “There’s an element of relief but I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m relieved.

“I knew that we both weren’t guilty. We were treated as guilty until proven innocent and that shouldn’t be the way things work.

“The jury was able to see the evidence and and not be brought into this sensational thing. The evidence wasn’t there.”

Mr Longbottom added: “It’s been stressful. I’ve hoped it would turn out like this.

“It’s nice to see the justice system working how it should.”

Solidarity with Yusef

From: https://southwalesanarchists.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/solidarity-with-yusef/

Yusef Asad was unjustly sentenced to two and a half years in Prison for defending himself from racists attacking a Palestine March in Cardiff in July 2014. He received the heaviest sentence despite only responding as racists at a pub started the violence throwing bottles, glasses and chairs at the demonstrators, who included young families.

Yusef welcomes letters of support.

Yusef Asad

A4424DD

HUNTERCOMBE PRISON

NUFFIELD

HENLEY-ON-THAMES

OXFORDSHIRE

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