We are sad to report that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to continue the stay and block the release of Albert Woodfox until the State’s appeal is heard (read articles by The Advocate and Washington Post).
Though it means some months before Albert will see his long overdue freedom realized, the court has granted an “expedited” status for the appeal. Oral Arguments are set for the week of August 31st. The State’s written argument as to why they believe Judge Brady’s order should be overturned is due on July 10th. Then Albert’s team has three weeks to respond before the State is allowed a final rebuttal on August 7th.
Despite the overwhelming calls for Albert’s freedom from the people, congressmen, NGO’s like Amnesty International, and 3 legal rulings overturning his original conviction, the State continues their cruel campaign of vengeance against Albert. Enough is Enough. Once again we see that, as Robert King says, “Legality and Morality do not shake hands in the court room”.
Though we are disappointed our friend will not be released today, we remain confident that the truth of his innocence and integrity of his struggle for justice will ultimately free him, sooner rather than later, and will continue to shed light on the dire situation faced by thousands left in solitary for decades for no legitimate reason. We have spoken with Albert, and although disappointed, he remains stoic and wanted to let everyone know he remains strong and will never give up till he gets justice.
Below is a response to today’s ruling by Amnesty International USA.
Amnesty International USA: Woodfox Must Be Released Immediately
The human rights organization called today’s Fifth Circuit ruling the result of a “desperate attempt to thwart justice” by the Attorney General.
Contact: Gabe Cahn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.412.1678
WASHINGTON-Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana announced that they would continue a stay of a U.S. District Judge’s decision to release Albert Woodfox. The Court’s decision effectively blocks the release of the Louisiana prisoner, pending a ruling on whether or not Albert Woodfox will be tried a third time. This decision follows U.S. District Judge James J. Brady’s ruling on Tuesday, which granted unconditional release to the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox. In response, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:
“Given that the overturning of Albert Woodfox’s conviction on three separate occasions was not enough, Judge Brady’s decision to grant him unconditional release should have certainly ended this 43-year-long nightmare. Instead, he remains behind bars, fighting to prove his innocence as a result of the Louisiana Attorney General’s desperate attempt to thwart justice.
“At this point, the Louisiana authorities must ensure Albert Woodfox’s freedom-not only from incarceration, but from the deeply flawed legal process that has consumed him for more than four decades.”
Since 2013 alone, Amnesty International USA has generated more than 100,000 actions on Woodfox’s behalf, including the delivery of a petition to Governor Jindal with more than 50,000 signatures calling for Albert Woodfox’s release. Over the course of the last five years, Amnesty’s global movement has generated more than 500,000 actions on behalf of the Angola 3. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez U.N. decried the indefinite solitary confinement imposed on Woodfox, saying that it “clearly amounts to torture and it should be lifted immediately.”
On June 11, in the wake of Judge Brady’s ruling, 18 members of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted for a resolution (H.R. 208) urging Attorney General Caldwell to stop standing in the way of justice, withdraw his appeals, and let Judge Brady’s unconditional writ and release ruling stand.
Albert Woodfox #72148
West Feliciana Parish Detention Center
PO Box 2727
St. Francisville, LA 70775