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Never let a good deed go unpunished!

This text consists of extracts from letters written by a prisoner whom I call K. I omit names and other details that would clearly identify him. He himself is willing to be identified, even if it earns him a month in solitary confinement, but I do not want to assume responsibility for any reprisals against him or his family. However, I do not conceal the fact that he is an immigrant from a Moslem country, as Islamophobia is surely a crucial factor in his predicament.

I start with the episode that explains the title I have chosen for this post. --SS

When my second wife came to visit me, she brought games and puzzles and donated them for the use of visitors and their kids, but they were put in the guards’ trunks and taken away. When she asked why, she was attacked by several female guards. They beat her so badly that she was still bleeding when she boarded the plane home.  

Now let K. describe the circumstances that led to his arrest and conviction. -SS

On […] B and I had a date. We ate and danced, had a good time, consensual foreplay and sex… Well, after we had our fun B wanted someone young, so I introduced her to D… Anyway, B and D have a go together in my apartment, but B gets mad at D for premature ejaculation, he’s in too much of a hurry. He beats and chokes B and continues to rape her while I’m in the bathroom. After D kills B, he takes her car with her in the trunk and drives to his church’s parking lot and sets the car on fire. Cops happened to drive by and see the car burning, but by then D had fled the scene after taking money and jewelry off B. The cops went after D and brought him back. He confessed to the crime, bragged about it. And the DNA from the semen, blood, and hair left on B matched D’s DNA, while it did not match mine.  

D pled guilty to second degree murder and first degree arson and got a mandatory sentence of 25 years. I said that I did not commit the crime. Yes, I did help D remove the body from my apartment. Yes, I did put it in the trunk of her car. But that was all. I did not commit the murder. I was charged with second degree murder for assisting. Hogwash.  

My comment: 

‘Assisting’ really may suffice to convict a person of murder. Legal views diverge concerning when the crime of murder is complete. In some states the law takes the ‘commonsense’ view that murder is complete when the victim dies. Acts that assist in concealing or disposing of the body are still crimes, but not equated with murder: they carry lesser penalties. The state where these events took place, however, is one of those where the law defines concealment or disposal of the body as part of the crime, making D and K co-murderers, equally subject to life imprisonment or even the death penalty. In fact, K ended up with a worse punishment for ‘assisting’ than D got for raping, killing, and arson, because D accepted a plea bargain while K, naively believing himself innocent, annoyed the judge and prosecutor by insisting on a trial.  

Now I let K continue his story. --SS

At my trial I was denied legal aid. I was convicted of conspiracy to commit first degree premeditated murder. This carries a sentence of no less than 30 years but no more than 40 years, not life imprisonment or death. But I was sentenced to death. I was beaten and gassed, my fingers were broken and my teeth knocked out, and all this time I was handcuffed and chained at the waist and unable to defend myself. 

Later the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. No matter how much money I spend on legal assistance, the illegal conviction stands. 

When my mother came to see me she was wearing her burka. The female guards patted her down hard and slammed her head up against the wall. I never got to see her, she died that same night. My first wife, who was in the visitation room, heard what happened. She asked why my mother’s head had been slammed and demanded to see the duty warden. Instead of the duty warden, a member of the rapid response team came to her table and told her to leave. She refused. She was picked up – she was only slightly over four feet tall – and slammed onto the floor, handcuffed from behind, picked up again, slammed onto the floor again, then dragged outside to the parking lot and transported to a local county jail, where she was warned not to file any complaints and released.  

                                              prison guard

There I sat on Death Row waiting to be killed for something I did not do. My family protested and even got a newspaper involved, but that angered the state even more. On the day that I was going to be interviewed a passenger airliner went down nearby, so no reporter turned up. I was told that if I had seen a reporter my family would have got a major ass whopping. My mail was destroyed, my photos were torn up, I was treated as you would treat the lowest life on the planet. Even now I am denied medical care, telephone, and visitors for a crime I did not commit…     

The courts say that I have no rights, my family have no rights. Food, clothing, and medical care are not mandatory for me. They got rid of parole in 1994 under pressure from a political group called STOP (Stop Turning Out Prisoners). [The Stop Turning Out Prisoners Act was actually passed in 1995 –SS]  

Next month I turn 60. I am in poor health. I am losing my hearing and having difficulties with my vision. My hernia operation was not done right and needs to be fixed. My leg was damaged in 2018 by security personnel. I had cast crutches and a cane, now I have a walker, but I can’t climb stairs and have to sleep on a bottom bunk. The poison in the bone has been drained, I have had tons of antibiotics, but the doctor tells me that the leg will never heal. It will just get worse and has to be amputated. 

The security personnel were happy that I caught Covid-19 and was on my death bed. They got mad at the nurses for treating me. My temperature went up to 107. It now fluctuates between 98 and 100. I’ve been on medication for two years, but at the place where I am now I have been denied my medication.  

I no longer have anyone on the outside who will stand up for me. My wives refuse to get involved due to the threats made to their grandchildren and to themselves. They are not allowed to re-enter the country to visit me and I am not allowed to phone them.  

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