What: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
When: Tuesday, September 20th, 2022
Where: YOUR HOME
Just this last weekend, NYC ABC held our annual Big Event, Running Down the Walls. A great time had by all as far as we could tell—definitely by us—and a great boost to the anarchist and abolitionist morale. But more about that in a later missive. And please stay tuned for more events coming up soon!
For now we are thinking of Veronza Bowers, Jr., veteran of the Black Panther Party and long-serving political prisoner. But long-serving is a gross understatement: He has been in prison since 1973, convicted solely on the evidence of bribed government informants. He has now served almost two full decades past his parole date, kept inside on flimsy pretenses that do little to disguise the political nature of his continued unjust imprisonment. Veronza should be free, like all potential prisoners.
Please join NYC ABC and Page One Collective in writing him letters this week.
Veronza is a prisoner at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a former member of the Black Panther Party incarcerated in federal prison for over 49 years, making him one of the longest held political prisoners in United States history.
Veronza was convicted for the murder of a U.S. Park Ranger. His conviction came as the result of testimony provided by two government informants, both of whom received reduced sentences by the Attorney General’s office for unrelated crimes. There were no eye-witnesses and no evidence independent of these informants to link Veronza to the crime. At his trial, Veronza offered alibi testimony which was not credited by the jury. Also not credited was testimony of two relatives of the informants who insisted that the informants were lying. In addition to having charges reduced in unrelated cases, the informants had all charges against them in this case involving Veronza dropped; one was given $10,000 by the government according to the prosecutor’s post-sentencing report. Veronza has consistently maintained his innocence, even at the expense of having his appeals for parole denied — an admission of guilt and contrition is virtually required if a prisoner has any hope of being granted parole.
What’s unique about Veronza’s case is that he has had the legal right to be released on what is known as “mandatory parole” since April 7, 2004. This is due to the fact that the Parole Commission failed to find that (1) there was compelling evidence he was likely to commit crimes upon release, or (2) he had frequently violated the rules of the prison system or (3) he had committed serious violations of prison rules during his incarceration. Only by making one of these three findings could the Commission lawfully deny him parole as of that date. What happened instead was that only a few hours before Veronza was to be released on April 7th, 2004, the Commission ordered the Bureau of Prisons to cancel his parole and indefinitely hold him in prison. This order was made without any explanation, justification or finding whatsoever.
Veronza has long passed his mandatory parole date, now by almost two decades.
For more information, visit veronza.org
Please write Veronza here:
Veronza Bowers, Jr. #35316-136
FCI Butner Medium II
PO Box 1500
Butner, NC 27509