Free the San Francisco 8!

International Call on the San Francisco 8

Initiated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate 1984, and
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976

Friday, November 30, 2007

At a press conference held at the InterChurch Center, World Council of Churches representative Lois M. Dauway officially released the International Call on the San Francisco Eight, a document drafted to bring the attention and the solidarity of the global peace and human rights community to the case. The Call, currently signed by three Nobel Peace laureates and two activists in leadership positions with Nobel peace prize winning organizations, is based on internationally recognized principles of prisoner rights, human rights, and against all forms of torture. Dauway, a senior executive of the Women's Division of the United Methodist Church, stated: "The time has come to set free those who have been bound. The case of the SF8 requires all of us to come together, and take an active stand for justice for all U.S. political prisoners."

In addition to Nobel peace related and church organizations, the International Call will bring world-wide and key regional associations into direct contact with the Committee in Defense of Human Rights, and other groups working on behalf of the SF8. Intended also as a tool for local activists within the U.S. to help reach out to local religious and community based organizations, the Call will eventually be used to put pressure on both federal and local California authorities to see that justice is done for all members of the Eight, and all who have suffered torture at the hands of the U.S. criminal justice system. Call organizer and War Resisters International activist Matt Meyer reported that interest in the Call has already been generated amongst the founders of the Nobel Women's Initiative, in academic circles, and in key constituencies across three continents. "We have a great opportunity," he noted, "and a great responsibility to bring news of this case far beyond our usual circles, until justice is finally done."

The full text of the International Call follows, with current signers:

International Call on the San Francisco 8

Given our commitment to and history in the global justice and human rights movements,

Given our commitment to reconciliation between peoples and governments,

Given that the U.S. government and Federal Bureau of Investigation has been shown, through past U.S. Congressional hearings and legal proceedings, to have been involved in illegal policing activities against civil and human rights organizations;

Poster for SF8Given that these illegal activities, epitomized by the FBI Counter Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO), targeted the Black Panther Party, and appears to have an ongoing presence;

Given that eight former Black Panthers – men now all in their fifties, sixties, and seventies – were arrested on January 23, 2007;

Given that these arrests were based on charges related to a 1971 murder, a murder investigated and brought to court in 1975 with the charges dismissed;

Given that no new evidence has been uncovered, and that the alleged evidence in the 1973 investigation was thrown out of court due to a judicial finding that statements were made under conditions of extreme torture, including: electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation; and

Given that  these new charges amount to little more than continued governmental harassment, violating basic principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture;

We call on all appropriate legal and governmental authorities to:

Free the San Francisco 8 buttonCommittee for the Defense of Human Rights
P.O. Box 90221
Pasadena, CA 91109

(415) 226-1120
E-mail: freethesf8 [at] gmail [dot] com
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