Client:Mother Jones
Date:May 29, 2014

This Man is Serving 75 Year for “Seditious Conspiracy.” Is He a Danger to Society?

From a prison in Indiana, a man writes his granddaughter: “After the family, what i miss most is the sea. Thirty-five years have passed since the last time i saw it. But i have painted it many times, the Atlantic part as well as the Caribbean, that smiling foam of light mixed with salt in Cabo Rojo. For any Puerto Rican, it is almost incomprehensible to live far from the sea.”

There are many people who want Oscar López Rivera to see the ocean again. He has served 33 years of a 75-year sentence for “seditious conspiracy” related to his participation in the FALN, a Puerto Rican nationalist group that claimed credit for a series of bombings in the 1970s and 1980s. (He was not charged with participating in any bombings, nor injuring anyone.) Nobel laureates Desmund Tutu and Mairead Maguire have called on President Obama to release him. So has the government of Puerto Rico, the American Association of Jurists, the AFL-CIO, the United Church of Christ, and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. Four members of Congress have called on President Obama to let him go. “Oscar has served 33 years in prison,” Rep. Gutiérrez emailed me. “He is being imprisoned for deeply held political views that resonate powerfully in the Puerto Rican community and beyond.”

All of his co-defendants were released by Bill Clinton. He is the last Puerto Rican independence prisoner. Does he need to stay in prison? Read the rest of the article here.