With just over a week left before Barack Obama, the United States’ first American-African commander in chief leaves the Oval Office, local activists are appealing to him to grant clemency to “political prisoner of war” Dr. Mutulu Shakur, who has been incarcerated since Feb. 12, 1986.
Additionally, they are also fighting for Veronza Bowers Jr.’s release, because he has maxed out his mandatory sentence.
“We are appealing to Obama to offer clemency to Mutulu Shakur,” said Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, a member of the Jericho Movement and chairperson of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee. “Veronza Bowers was offered parole 13 years ago, but was not released because then Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez requested that he not be released although he maxed out his sentence since his mandatory release date. Jericho is asking everyone to support.”
A former student of Shakur shared similar sentiments.
“Mutulu should be back in his community, where he can continue serving his people,” suggested Shahdidi Kenzi, from Peace Health Center in Bed-Stuy, who recalled Shakur utilizing acupuncture to alleviate heroin addiction. “That’s why they took him off the streets.”
Activists are calling for the general public to press Obama to survey the relevant facts and use his power. Some are surprised that with all the attention garnered, Tupac’s godfather has not been pardoned sooner.
“For Mutulu to only have something like 1,100 signatures after serving 30 something years for his contributions to the freedom struggle is very disappointing,” Kioni-Sadiki concluded.
For more information, visit mutulushakur.com.