No Justice to be Found in Louisiana
“Louisiana has the most broken public defender system of any state in the country,” said Kristen Clark, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center to bring a class action suit charging Louisiana with depriving defendants of their constitutional rights.
“They lock people up a alarmingly high rates, and then fail to provide lawyers to navigate their way through the criminal justice system,” said Clark. “Many of our clients have, literally, spent months in jail without any contact with an attorney.” Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.
“They Want to Exterminate Us”: MOVE to Hold Conference in Philly
The MOVE organization will hold a three-day conference, beginning May 5, in Philadelphia, to set the historical record straight on “what MOVE really believes in, who [founder] John Africa is, and why the government wants to exterminate us,” said the organization’s minister of communications, Ramona Africa. Ms. Africa is the sole survivor of the 1985 police bombing raid on the MOVE residence that left 11 members dead, including 5 children, and destroyed an entire city block. In 1978, 9 MOVE members were sentenced to life in prison in the death of a policeman, a confrontation that began with petty police harassment. “They said there were housing code violations,” Ms. Africa remembers. “But, since when has this government cared about Black people living in what they say is substandard housing?”
Good News: Trump Does Not Yet Have an Africa Policy
U.S. military intervention in Africa rose dramatically under President Barack Obama, who established an “Atrocity Prevention Board” at the U.S. State Department “to decide which country has the most important atrocities.” However, according to Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of the Congo, the Atrocity Prevention Board doesn’t consider the genocide in Congo to be much of an atrocity, since the main culprits are Washington’s allies, Rwanda and Uganda, which have been destabilizing the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. “Because of U.S. policy to support that invasion,” said Musavuli, “we have lost over six million Congolese.” In light of this history, Musavuli would prefer less, rather than more, attention to Africa from Washington. “What is unclear,” he said, “is whether Donald Trump will continue with the Atrocity Prevention Board, or what his Africa policy will be.”
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