A time to demand investigations

February 5, 2009

Mark Clements is a victim of torture at the hands of Chicago police and has been incarcerated since age 16--with four life sentences plus 30 years--for a crime he did not commit. He is one of Chicago's youngest police torture victims and one of the first juveniles to be sentenced to "natural life" in prison. He is fighting for justice for himself and other victims of police torture.

I WOULD like to respond to "Spied on because of our ideas," written by Laura Lising.

This behavior of spying on activists does not surprise me. It was commonly done to activists during the civil rights movement, and to be totally honest, some law enforcement agencies--and especially prison administrators--across this country have been given too much power by state legislators.

Activists should not be unfairly labeled "terrorists" because they oppose the death penalty. I stand firmly on the side of the brother and sister activists who have been wrongly labeled, and call for investigations into actions of the Maryland State Police Department and the Maryland Department of Corrections.

In Illinois in 2003, four men were released off of death row because former Gov. George Ryan deemed that they had been the victims of systematic torture caused by Chicago police detectives. Ryan ordered the release of the four men from prison and granted commutations for all Illinois death row inmates, claiming not to know who was innocent or guilty.

Had it not been for activists, I think it is fair to say that these men would not be off of death row--and it's a strong possibility that some of them would have been executed.

For some reason, most prison officials, especially prison administrators, to this day try to label prison and death penalty activists as criminals--but history has shown that most prison administrators themselves are the ones who end up in prison for criminal behavior, most of the time for fraud.

What occurred in Maryland is somewhat common when it comes to prisoners' rights. This is a good time to demand investigations and hearings by Congress.

I firmly stand with my brother and sisters activists--and I scream it loud and clear! Maryland authorities should be made an example of to show that this behavior will not be tolerated.
Mark Clements, Pontiac, Ill.

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