Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
**FILE** Former Black Panther Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (R) listens to the proceedings in Fulton County Superior Court at the start of jury selection for his First Degree murder trial January 8, 2002 in Atlanta. Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is accused of killing a Fulton County Sheriff's deputy and injuring his partner as they attempted to serve him with a warrant in March of 2000. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty in the case. (Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images)

Jamil Al-Amin, a Muslim Imam and veteran of the all-absorbing civil rights movement of the 1960s and ’70s when he was known as H. Rap Brown, is, I believe, an unjustly imprisoned man.

An effective, uncompromising religious community leader on Atlanta’s West End, he was convicted of murdering a sheriff’s deputy in a shootout in March 2000, when two officers attempted to enforce a warrant. He and his supporters maintain his innocence. The surviving deputy testified that he shot the assailant — who had gray eyes — in the exchange of gunfire. Al-Amin’s eyes are brown, and he had no gunshot injury when he was captured just four days later.

Jamil-el Amin is no stranger to federal prosecution and persecution. The FBI’s infamous, secret COINTELPRO document called for “neutralizing” him. He went into hiding for 18 months when he was listed among the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives. After a robbery conviction, he served five years at the infamous Attica Penitentiary where he converted to Islam.

A fugitive, a fighter, now a Muslim; it’s easy to see from the White nationalist perspective, why law enforcement authorities might want to “neutralize” him. Despite the Constitutional promise of a presumption of innocence, everywhere Jamil Al-Amin went, he wore a conspicuous target on his back.

After this unjust conviction — another man, a prisoner, has even confessed, twice now, to being the gunman who shot and killed Deputy Ricky Kinchen that day — since this unjust conviction, Al-Amin has been held in some of the most punishing federal prisons in the land. And he is not permitted to speak to outsiders or the media. In fact, Al-Amin’s friend Imam Abdul Ali told supporters at a recent rally in D.C., the letters he receives are re-typed by prison authorities before he reads them, lest he see the originals where his friends might have encoded secret messages in handwritten letters and numbers.

Well, weeping may endure through the night, but joy cometh in the morning. The Imam Jamil Action Network has formed, and they kicked off a campaign: inside the U.S. and state courts; in the United Nations international system of courts; and in the court of public opinion.

The network reports that despite medical challenges — symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome and smoldering myeloma (a form of blood cancer) — they have beaten back attempts to “execute him by medical neglect.” Al-Amin’s health has improved, the network says, and his spirit remains strong, and they have pressured prison authorities to “monitor” his situation more carefully.

“We’re talking about horrible people,” Abdul Ali said, “people that got a camera in the [prison] cell watching you the whole time you are in the cell. We have to talk about is the type of life that he was living in that prison.

“This system is the most unforgiving system on planet Earth,” Ali continued. “But they want us to forgive them for everything they’ve done to us. And what we’re saying: ‘Man, we call him to the table. We’re going to take the blindfold off of the Statue of justice, cause that’s the statue of ‘il-liberty.’ You know what I mean? We can pull that blindfold off of her and she’s going to look at this case.

“We not asking for a favor,” he said. “We’re demanding justice. You dig what I’m saying? We want justice in this.”

The Network is encouraging a letter and/or get-well card campaign to:

Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, 99974-555
U.S. Penitentiary Tucson
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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