5920 Second Avenue, Detroit MI 48202
October 28, 2015
For Immediate Release:
- Protest and Press Conference Against Mistreatment of Political Prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney
- At the Michigan Department of Corrections, 206 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Mi.
- Monday, November 2, 2015, at 12 Noon
Activists from across Michigan will be protesting outside the Michigan Department of Corrections offices to demand that Director Heidi Washington immediately restore phone privileges to political prisoner, the Reverend Edward Pinkney. The demonstrators will also be demanding that Director Washington reverse the punitive transfer of Rev. Pinkney to Marquette Branch Prison (483 miles away from his wife and attorney) and return him to the Lower Peninsula while his appeal proceeds.
Rev. Pinkney was targeted for his political activism in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Leading an effort to recall Mayor Hightower brought a SWAT team to his door in 2014 with charges that five dates on the recall petitions had been altered. Rev. Pinkney was charged with five counts of felony forgery, brought to trial before an all-white jury and convicted with absolutely NO EVIDENCE of his altering anything on the petitions. The prosecutor and judge collaborated in this frame-up, telling the jury that “you don’t need evidence to convict Pinkney.” The fact that Rev. Pinkney chaired protest meetings and spoke at press conferences was introduced to “prove” that he must be guilty! Rev. Pinkney was sentenced to 2.5 to 10 years.
This outrageous frame up is being appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by his attorney as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild, who have filed amicus briefs in the case.
Rev. Pinkney has been targeted since his imprisonment on Dec. 14, 2014, most recently by his politically motivated transfer to Marquette Branch Prison from the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. For several weeks he was housed in a moldy cell, causing him dizziness and difficulty breathing. On October 23 Marquette Prison officials revoked Rev. Pinkney’s telephone privileges, effectively silencing and isolating this political prisoner.
Friends and supporters of Rev. Pinkney fear for his health and his life in the racist atmosphere of Marquette Prison, cut off from any contact with the outside world. On October 27th Rev. Pinkney turned 67 years old.
Supporters of Rev. Pinkney have been flooding the MDOC Directors office with protest phone calls since his transfer and his denial of phone access.