West Yorkshire Solidarity With Prisoner John Bowden

“The only sure tactic when prisoners resist and fight back is solidarity.”  John Bowden in ‘Tear Down The Walls’                                           … Continue reading

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John Bowden Support Meeting


On the night before the October 19th Day of Action in support of prisoner John Bowden (see   http://leedsabc.org/?p=1145) , there will be a meeting in the library of Bradford 1 in 12 Club – JOHN BOWDEN: WHO HE IS AND WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT HIM

The meeting will start promptly at 7.30pm. Please try and attend.

1in 12 Club, Bradford

Thursday 18th October


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John Bowden: Call-Out For An International Day Of Action On October 19th

“The only sure tactic when prisoners resist and fight back is solidarity.” 
John Bowden in ‘Tear Down The Walls’

John Bowden has been in prison more than thirty years for the drunken killing of someone who pulled a knife on him at a party. While John’s two co-defendants were released more than twenty years ago, John remains in a high security prison despite the Parole Board’s recommendations that he be prepared for release. John has been at the forefront of the prison struggle throughout most of his time inside, he quickly developed a political consciousness and a deep understanding of the role of prison in society, as well as a tactical understanding of the power relations between the captured and their captors.

Also, throughout his time inside, John has been punished for his role as a prison militant and organizer, and for exposing the barbarity and inhumanity of prison through his writing. The system and the vengeful screws that are its foot-soldiers have constantly tried to break John, viciously brutalising him and subjecting him to the most inhumane conditions. Even today, they are prepared to flagrantly ignore the recommendations of the Parole Board that he be moved to open conditions and prepared for release. John is constantly having to put up with provocations and dirty tricks from his captors, while they do everything they can to prolong his incarceration.

It has been clear for many years that John Bowden is not being held in prison because of the killing he committed thirty years ago, but because of the way he has developed as a human-being despite the worst excesses of the prison system, because he continues to maintain his integrity and humanity, because he has a political consciousness that sees prison for the barbarity that it is, and because he remains unbroken. John Bowden is an enemy of the System, and as long as he continues to hold his head high, the vengeful evil bastards that hold him in their clutches; the spineless dog-turd turn-keys and their sick pay-masters, will do everything they can to see that he is never released.

For his part, John has sworn that if it is a choice between surrendering that part of himself that has allowed him to resist throughout three decades of incarceration, that has compelled him to challenge injustice in spite of the personal cost to himself, he would sooner die in jail.

John Bowden is a comrade who deserves our fullest support, and it is time to FIGHT to get him out. This is a call-out from Leeds ABC for an International Day of Action in support of John Bowden on Friday October 19th. John has remained staunch all these years, he deserves to be shown that he is not isolated and alone. Please organise solidarity actions for October 19th.

Recent articles about John’s situation can be found  http://leedsabc.org/john-bowden-time-to-get-him-out/ and  http://leedsabc.org/the-unlawful-detention-of-john-bowden/

Some useful contacts:

Scottish Prison Service HQ, Communications Branch, Room 338, Calton House, 5 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9HW. (Telephone 01259 760 471 Fax 01259 762 003 E-mail  gaolinfo@sps.gov.uk

Ian Whitehead (Governor), HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE. (Telephone 01501 824000 Fax 01501 824 001 ).

The Parole Board, Grenadier House, 99-105 Horsferry Road, SW1P 2MX.

Find a British Embassy/Consulate:  http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/find-an-embassy/

You can download John Bowden’s pamphlet ‘Tear Down The Walls!’ free of charge from http://leedsabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Tear-Down-The-Walls-2010.pdf

Also check out a pamphlet recently produced by our comrades at Bristol ABC to which John contributed  http://leedsabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/cscs-torture-units-in-the-uk-screen31.pdf

.Please send letters/cards of support to John at:

John Bowden, 6729, HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.

You can also send e-mails to John (or any other prisoner) via:  http://www.emailaprisoner.com

A guide on writing to prisoners can be found here http://leedsabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/writing-to-prisoners-2012.pdf

‘Free John Bowden stickers’ – see http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/10/500839.html



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ABC-Belarus – Pavel Syramolatau is free

We’re glad to announce that after 620 days in prison Pavel Syramolatau was released from prison by president pardon on September 27th.

Pavel was arrested on January 17th 2011 due to attack on KGB building in Bobruisk, which was announced as solidarity action with anarchists arrested in Minsk in September 2010. In may 2011 after more than six months of investigation he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Their action were classified by court as destruction of private property.

Under pressure of colony administration he signed petition for pardon this June.

Currently five more people supported by Anarchist Black Cross are in prison: Artsiom Prakapenka, Jauhen Vas’kovich, Ihar Alinievich, Aliaksandar Frantskievich and Mikalai Dziadok. All of them are strongly against petitions for pardon and ready to spend all of the sentence in the prison, rather than asking president for release.

Original:  http://abc-belarus.org/?p=2550?=en

Older news on Belarusian prisoners:  https://avtonom.org/en/freebelarus

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“Free John Bowden” Stickers

Help spread the word about John Bowden with these new stickers As part of our preparations for the International Day of Action in support of militant prisoner John Bowden on October 19th, Leeds ABC have produced 2000 stickers. The stickers … Continue reading

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The Unlawful Detention of John Bowden

“If the prison authorities are determined to detain me, even unlawfully, unless I compromise my basic human integrity by never questioning or challenging their abuses of power, then I am prepared to die in here.”                       – John Bowden In 1982 … Continue reading

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John Bowden – Time To Get Him OUT!

John Bowden has been in jail more than 30 years. Anarchists need to fight to get him out   Militant prisoner John Bowden has been locked behind bars for more than three decades, and the prison authorities continue to do everything they can to keep him there. In the past, he was punished with beatings and brutality to try and break his spirit, and to stop him participating in organised resistance to prison repression. In more recent years the State have used prison-hired quacks like Matthew Stillman, and now Marc Kozlowski, and scumbag Probation workers like Brendan Barnett to do their dirty work. Despite the recommendations of the Parole Board more than a year ago that John Bowden be moved to an open nick and be prepared for release, the screws are determined to keep John inside.

Below is a recent update on John Bowden’s situation. Leeds ABC are launching a new campaign to get John out of jail, details of a Day of Action, the first salvo in this renewed campaign in support of John, will be posted shortly. We hope that comrades everywhere will join us in supporting John Bowden and in demanding that he be freed from jail.

Leeds ABC


Manufacturing artificial “Risk factors” to prolong and extend the imprisonment of some life sentence prisoners has become a fairly standard tactic by the prison system, especially in the case of lifers considered potentially “subversive” and “anti-authoritarian”, or those with a significant history of questioning and resisting authority. The complicity and direct involvement of prison-hired “professionals” (psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers) in that victimisation is also an established fact. Indeed the prolonged detention of certain “difficult” lifers would be made considerably more difficult without their assistance.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, John Bowden was at the forefront of the British prison struggle, leading and being involved in serious acts of resistance against the prison system, and was deeply politicised by the experience. Viewed by most prison staff as a committed and dangerous “trouble-maker”, John was often brutally punished, suffering years of brutality and prolonged solitary confinement. He has been victimised, in one way or another, ever since.

In June of last year, after hearing the evidence of an independent psychologist, the Parole Board decided that after 30 years in prison, John Bowden represented no real risk or danger to the community, and like the two men originally imprisoned with him in 1982, who were released almost 20 years ago, he should now be returned to that community. The Parole Board therefore asked the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to transfer John to an open prison in preparation for release twelve months later. At the parole hearing itself, a representative of the SPS agreed to comply with the Board’s request. In reality, however, the SPS had absolutely no intention of preparing John Bowden for release, or even allowing him out of maximum security conditions.

Instead, a “Lifer Liaison Officer” (a senior screw) at Shotts maximum-security jail in Scotland, decided that John Bowden should be “generically assessed” for “offence-related” courses, despite the ultimate risk-assessment body, the Parole Board, after hearing the evidence of both independent and prison-based professionals, deciding that no such courses were in fact necessary. In the face of the Parole Board’s decision, and in defiance of its legal authority, the “Lifer Liaison Officer”, Martin Whiteman, appointed himself as the sole and ultimate decision-maker as to whether or not John Bowden would ever be released. Clearly, his view and personal opinion of John Bowden was deeply coloured and prejudiced by his essential role of prison guard over a prisoner with a “bad” reputation as a “trouble-maker”. Whiteman was also in contact with Brendan Barnett, a social worker employed by Edinburgh City Council, who had been given the responsibility of creating a post-release supervision plan for John Bowden. Barnett had instead written a report for the Parole Board full of lies and prejudice, and is now himself the subject of an investigation by Edinburgh City Chambers, Whiteman and Barnett had obviously colluded, with the aim of preventing John Bowden’s release.

Whiteman also interfered with the so-called “generic assessment” procedure in John Bowden’s case, and persuaded the prison’s “Prisoner Case Management Board” (PCMB), chaired by compliant prison psychologist Marc Kozlowski, to “vote” that John Bowden be made to complete lengthy “offence-related” courses, which have no relevance to John’s current behaviour and character, and are clearly intended to prolong his imprisonment. The PCMB subsequently refused to reveal both the identity of its members, and bearing in mind John’s offence was 30 years ago, what assessment procedure was used to justify his now being made to address patterns of social and criminal behaviour which no longer exist in his life, as clearly evidenced by the prison authorities previously allowing John to work outside with vulnerable members of the community and go on numerous home leaves. The decision of the Parole Board last year was absolutely clear in its view that John Bowden had changed fundamentally and irrevocably since he was imprisoned 30 years ago, and should now be prepared for release. In Martin Whiteman’s view however, John Bowden now, as a person, is probably more threatening and dangerous than the brutalised young man who entered the prison system 30 years ago.

Because John Bowden has refused, on principle, to cooperate with Whiteman’s demand that he attend wholly inappropriate “offence-related” courses, he remains warehoused in a top-security prison while Whiteman writes reports to the Parole Board claiming that John refuses to cooperate with a “Management Plan” and should therefore remain in jail until he dies. John Bowden is now, very clearly, being held in jail because of his history and reputation as a prison militant, and Martin Whiteman is using (and abusing) his position of authority to co-opt compliant “professionals like prison psychologist Marc Kozlowski into legitimising the victimisation of John Bowden.

The abuse of power in prison takes place because individuals like Martin Whiteman are allowed to operate with impunity, and have the support and compliance of middle-class “professionals” like Marc Kozlowski, who willingly provide cover for them. John Bowden, on the other hand, is isolated and powerless, and yet continues to resist and defy his tormentors. He should be supported by anyone who truly understands the significance and importance of the prison struggle.


You can download John Bowden’s pamphlet ‘Tear Down The Walls!’ free of charge from the pdf section.

Also, in the pdf section, you can check out a pamphlet published by our comrades at Bristol ABC ‘CSCS Torture Units in the UK’.

Please send letters and cards of support to John at:

John Bowden 6729, HMP Shotts,  Cantrell Road Shotts,  Scotland ML7 4LE.

You can write to the individual who runs Shotts prison at:

Ian Whitehead, HM Prison Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.

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New Leeds ABC Leaflet

Prisoners need support. New general-use Leeds ABC leaflet and small poster for notice-boards, etc – the leaflet can be found in our pdf section. Please download and print a few copies.   We live in a time of unprecedented repression, … Continue reading

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Verdicts in for the Genoa 10: guilty (Italy, G8 2001)

Taken from Indymedia: The Italian High Court confirmed on Friday 13th July the sentences for the 10 activists on trial for crimes of “devastation and looting” during the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. While some of the sentences have … Continue reading

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Revolutionary Prisoners in Chile (Pamphlet)

From Bristol ABC:

This is a list of revolutionary prisoners that remain kidnapped by the $hilean States. This list is a translation that was made in July 2012, it is constantly updated at liberaciontotal.lahaine.org/?page_id=3698 due to the transportation and living circumstances of the prisoners.
We recall the situation of some comrades who remain underground, among them Carlos Gutierrez (Charged in the “Security Case”), Diego Rios and Gabriela Curilem. We hope to never have to add them to this list and that they never have to walk in the prison.
Any input or update, send to liberaciontotal (at) riseup.net.

Solidarity with Chilean prisoners!

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