For Immediate Release to the Public From: Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Gregory Curry:
Lucasville Media Access Hunger Strike Ends
YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO-- Today, at 3:15 p.m., Greg Curry and I, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, decided to end our almost month-long hunger strike. The strike commenced on April 11, the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville prison uprising. The sole purpose of our strike was to vigorously challenge the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) continuously denying us to have direct access to the media- that is: on-camera interviews with the media.
While both death-row and non-death row prisoners in Ohio are granted on-camera access to the media, those who have been reailroaded and convicted of crimes stemming from the Lucasville Uprising have continuously been denied equal protection under the law.
And though ODRC policy permits its prisoners to meet with the media to discuss their criminal cases, this policy has not been applicable to those of of convicted of riot related offenses. In fact, in 2003, the then-prison chief, Reginald Wilkinson, made it perfectly clear to Kevin Mayhood a staff reporter at the Columbus Dispatch that: "no inmates convicted of riot crimes will be permitted to speak with [them]." This blanket and collective denial is contrary to ODRC's own state-wide Media Policy, which Mr. Wilkinson's successors have been unconstitutionally enforcing his vindictive directive.
We want to thank all our supporters, as well as some reporters in the media, who have been agressively assisting us in challenging this unconstitutional media blockade.
We also want to thank the various organizations who have expressed interest in this matter-- that is, the flagrant violation of our first amendment guarantees which protect freedom of speech and redress from government excesses.
Finally we want to thank Warden David Bobby for negotiating with us in good faith and for being the liaison between us and his hard-line superiors at Central Office.
Because of these factors, we decided to end our hunger strike and allow this crucial matter to be litigated through the court. God willing, we will be granted a resounding legal victory against the prisoncrats who wish to silence us in a deliberate ongoing attempt to prevent us from revealing the truth about our criminal convictions, convictions which are a serious affront and travesty of justice. Until then, I remain...
In the trenches,
Siddique Abdullah Hasan.