Exonerated political prisoner, Geronimo Pratt, dies in Tanzania

Geronimo Pratt, a former leader of the Black Panther Party falsely accused, then imprisoned for 27 years, died June 3 in Tanzania, where he was living. He was 63 years old.

Pratt was framed by the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department, but won release after he was granted a new trial in 1997. Key to the political prisoner's eventual exoneration was the revelation of hidden evidence that a jail house snitch who testified against him was in fact an undercover FBI agent.

Pratt, who was accused of the murder and robbery of a California schoolteacher, was defended by the late Johnnie Cochran, who hailed the case his most important legal victory.

A broad public campaign helped lead to his freedom.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Panther Party, along with many other groups, was subject to severe persecution and harassment by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and their COINTELPRO program.

Two years after his release, Pratt won a $4 million settlement in a lawsuit against the FBI and the LAPD.

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  • It's unfortunate this great man had to serve time for something he never committed. I hope tha during the last couple of years he was able to live life to the fullest.

    Posted by hr, 06/12/2011 11:53pm (3 years ago)

  • The exoneration of Pratt is the exoneration of all the people's struggles which were involved in the anti-repressive, anti-genocide struggles of the '50s, '60s, & '70s, '80s and '90s. These struggles took place as the whole people, united, struggled for labor rights, civil rights and human rights.
    The CPUSA has a long record of involvement in the fight for human liberty and labor liberty for the world's workers and oppressed.
    FBI, CIA and later COINTELPRO activities to curtail human rights of activists like Pratt have been fought in those like the fight to free Angelo Herndon and the fight to free Angela Y. Davis.
    This history of struggle is systematically repressed and purged by anti-people, capitalist, imperialist forces.
    Labor activists, African American, Latino, and Native American individuals and groups have been victims of this genocidal repression and because of this, we have valiantly struggled, like William L. Patterson and Paul Leroy Robeson did as they presented the famous"We Charge Genocide Pettition" to the United Nations.
    The FBI, CIA, and COINTELPRO have not learned that "You Cannot Kill the Working Class"-as Angelo Herndon would tell us.
    Because of the current and historical anti-people and anti-democratic activities of the FBI and CIA, these organizations should be closed. They are at odds with the principles of civilization and human rights as spelled out in the U. N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights-and democracy in general.
    We must never forget this, as we press for the human rights of jobs and peace, now.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 06/10/2011 12:24pm (3 years ago)

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