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Fred Hampton Junior released

Political activist Fred Hampton Junior who won a clemency hearing in April this year, was released on Friday 14th Sept. Mr Hampton Jr who had already served over nine years of an 18 year sentence for arson has always denied his involvement.
An arson attack took place on two Korean stores in May 1992, the Chicago Fire Department weren't called, the businesses weren't closed and one store pulled out of the charge at the last minute. The prosecutions main evidence for motive was presented to the majority white jury in the form of an article in the Uhuru movement's own paper called 'Burning Spear'. The article discussed the amount of Korean shops in the area and how Black people needed to get their own business's up and running for their own community in a predominately black area.

His father Fred Hampton Senior who was a member of the Illinois Black Panther Party(BPP) was shot dead at the age of twenty as he lay in his bed by Chicago police in December 4th 1969. Laying next to him on that fateful night was his wife who was pregnant with Fred Hampton Jr, who just like his father followed in his dad's political footsteps and became a key organiser in the community. Fred Jr became the Chicago president of the radical African American led organisation called the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and it seems a target of the authorities.

On the day of his arrest 12 plainclothes police turned up without an arrest warrant, and according to the InPDUM "Fred was not doing anything illegal when they arrested him", a clear breach of his constitutional rights.

What followed was a three-day trial which clearly failed in it's representation of the defendent.

.No material evidence was produced by the prosecution

.Mr Hampton was allowed no character witness

.The judge refused to allow the name "Fred Hampton" to be used in court.

.When Fred Jr.'s mother took the stand to testify as to where Fred Jr. was at the time of the alleged incident, the main focus of questioning was based on her political affiliation with militant and radical groups like the BPP and the NPDUM

.There were no voluntary witnesses. Police took two witnesses to the police station showing them two pages of photos out of an over-90 page album - the pages with Fred on them. One of these involuntary witnesses said they saw a "large black man" for 5 seconds who was in the doorway of the store; the other witness said he saw Fred leaving the area of the arson.

.Furthermore no physical evidence connected Fred to the arson. The prosecutions 'evidence' became still flimsier when the State's own fingerprint experts testified that Fred's fingerprints weren't on the bottles thrown into the stores as Molotov cocktails.

Many may feel being wrongfully imprisoned was hard enough but since his incarceration according to the U.S. InPDUM "Fred was been shuffled constantly from prison to prison. His life was been threatened by guards...his cell was inspected as many as 8 times per day, at any time of the day or night, resulting in his property being destroyed and stolen."

A spokesperson for the U.K's Uhuru movement which has been raising an awareness campaign pointed out "The government made two separate attempts to indict Fred Hampton Jr on charges of Murder and Armed Robbery two months before the arson arrest, which has a familiar ring to the treatment of the imprisoned Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is on Death Row for Murder." Mr Hampton Jr was found not guilty on both charges.

Those who have been campaigning for Fred's release were happy but remain cautious as Natalie a campaigner from the UK Uhuru movement said "It's a small victory...but a positive sign, if you apply organised pressure the system can give in...it's still not justice, he was in prison, he was clearly framed."
 
 

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