Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera has served almost 35 years in prison, convicted of seditious conspiracy for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico, though he was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. Serving a sentence of 70 years, he is the longest held political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico and one of the longest held in the world. He is 73 years old, and will be 80 by the time of his release date in 2023. No other country keeps its political prisoners behind bars for as many decades as does the United States. -The fight to free Lopez has been expanding. The deepening economic crisis in Puerto Rico with the colonial government bankrupt, has bettered working people. Many have left, coming the U.S. “In Puerto Rico there is a borad consensus in favor of freeing Oscar,” Eduardo Villanueva, spokesperson of the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico said by phone from San Juan Aug 26. “We are ororganzing…to show that in the heart of the U.S, in teh belly of the beast… there is also broad support. We want Obama to excercise his constitutional powers and release Oscar.” (from website and newspaper article)
Along with a number of other groups and individuals, the National Lawyers Guild is making a formal request to the current administration to consider releasing a number of political prisoners as an act of executive clemency. Many of these prisoners have spent decades in prison, and have become elders facing extreme health problems… the intention of this portrait is to honor Mr. Lopez Rivera and to join Marius’ voice to the many who are asking for his release.