To: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) Commissioner Anthony Annucci
Originally published on OrganizeFor
We strongly support Medical Parole and the Commutation to time served for Jalil Muntaquim. We are confident that his release poses no danger to our communities, and we urge you to allow him to rejoin his family and friends.
Why is this important?
Widely respected elder Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom) joined the Black Panther Party at age 16 and was arrested at age 19. Jalil is in his 49th year of incarceration, currently held at Sullivan Correctional Facility on a 25-years to life, minimum sentence. Jalil became ill and contracted COVID-19 in May 2020. Jalil falls into two of the highest risk categories due to his age and his medical conditions, which include chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and hypertension. He also has previously suffered a stroke with some resulting brain damage, and has scarring in his lungs as a result of a case of tuberculosis in his youth. As a result of his pre-existing health conditions, Jalil has been fighting for his life.
In an effort to avoid contracting the virus, Muntaqim initially appealed to the court for relief. On April 27th, the New York State Supreme Court granted him temporary release from prison. The order did not release him completely, as he would still be serving his sentence under DOCCS supervision. However, Attorney General Letitia James appealed the Judge’s decision, forcing Jalil to remain incarcerated. A few weeks later Jalil contracted COVID-19, as he had feared.
Jalil has an exemplary record and a reputation as a peacemaker and teacher. Our biggest fear is that if he is not released, his prison sentence will become a death sentence. At a time when people are taking to the streets to protest state violence against Black people, the Black lives of those who fought to protect Black communities from police brutality and murder should not be disregarded.
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