UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Albert Woodfox's imminent release, a triumph for human rights

  1. ホーム
  2. News Release
  3. International Secretariat
  4. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Albert Woodfox's imminent release, a triumph for human rights
14 Jun 2015
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Abolition of the Death Penalty

The imminent release of Albert Woodfox, who has spent around 40 years in isolation after a flawed murder trial in Louisiana, is a long-awaited legal triumph, said Amnesty International today.

"This 68-year-old man has suffered intolerably cruel treatment in prison while fighting to overturn a conviction for a crime for which he has always maintained he was innocent. After two flawed trials and a legal process spanning decades, which has seen his conviction overturned in both federal and state courts, finally Albert is getting the freedom he deserves.”

In a surprise turn, a judge yesterday issued an unconditional writ ordering Albert's immediate release and barring a retrial.

Albert Woodfox was convicted, together with Herman Wallace, for the murder of a prison guard in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1972.

Albert Woodfox has spent most of his 43 years in prison confined in a small cell for 23 hours a day, denied access to meaningful social interaction and rehabilitation programmes. The same was true for his co-defendant, the late Herman Wallace.

Both men always denied any involvement in the crime and said they were falsely implicated in the murder because of their political activism in prison as members of the Black Panther Party.

There was no physical evidence linking them to the crime and their convictions relied primarily on the dubious testimony of another prisoner, who received favourable treatment in return for his testimony. The case against them was based on flawed evidence and riddled with procedural errors that have been extensively documented over the years.

The conviction against Albert Woodfox had been overturned three times, the latest in 2013, but he remained in prison after the state of Louisiana appealed the ruling.

The judges ruled that he did not receive a fair trial in 1998 because of discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson.

Albert Woodfox’s co-defendant, Herman Wallace, was released from prison in October 2013 just days before he died of liver cancer. A federal judge overturned his conviction on the basis of the systematic exclusion of women from the grand jury during his 1974 trial.

9 June 2015

Related Actions

Related Newses