Hatem Abudayyeh: Oscar Lopez Rivera, we thank you for your sacrifice, for your principles, and for your strength

Hatem Abudayyeh, on behalf of the Arab American Action Network’s constituents, staff, board, and volunteers, http://www.aaan.org/:

 

We are thrilled and proud to announce that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera–brother of our friend and compañero, Jose Lopez, director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park–has had his sentence commuted by President Barack Obama.

Read this short report here.

Oscar Lopez is the longest held political prisoner in the U.S. from Latin America, and will be released in May 2017 after 36 consecutive years in prison, including a full 12 years spent in isolation.

Our hats go off to the incredible members of the Puerto Rican community here, in NY, in dozens of other cities in the U.S., and in Puerto Rico itself, for their righteous decades-long struggle to win their leader’s release.  Special recognition to the National Boricua Human Rights Network and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, both of which we have worked with proudly for decades as well.

And to Jose Lopez, Alejandro Molina, Michelle Morales, Clarisa López Ramos (Oscar’s daughter), Emma Lozano, Jeanne Kracher, LahTere, Melinda and Margaret Power, David Thibault-Rodriquez, Michael Reyes, Michael Deutsch, IL State Senator Iris Martinez, Alderman Carlos Rosa, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and so many other friends of ours who dedicated significant parts of their lives to help make this happen.  A bunch of incredible attorneys worked on the case as well, of course, but nobody put in the hours of our brilliant and beautiful friend Jan Susler of the People’s Law Office.

And to Oscar Lopez Rivera himself: we thank you for your sacrifice, for your principles, and for your strength. You have motivated us to fight unequivocally for our rights and the liberation of our people here and in the homeland, the way you always have.  The leaders of your defense campaign have taught us how to defend our own prisoners–like Rasmea Odeh–and advocate and organize for her freedom and others’. Your call for self-determination, an end to colonialism, and full and complete independence for Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people has inspired us to call for the same in Palestine and the rest of the Arab World.

You are a leader to us and our people as well, and we celebrate your freedom with the excitement and joy of all Puerto Ricans and people of conscience everywhere!

Sincerely,

Hatem Abudayyeh,

on behalf of the Arab American Action Network’s constituents, staff, board, and volunteers,  http://www.aaan.org/

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