How the Government Treats a Political Prisoner
by Shari Dovale
A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible for their imprisonment. In English law, imprisonment is the restraint of a person’s liberty.
The book Termes de la Ley (Terms of the law) includes the following definition:
Imprisonment is no other thing than the restraint of a man’s liberty, whether it be in the open field, or in the stocks, or in the cage in the streets or in a man’s own house
History records the imprisonment of political prisoners, with some of the most well known being Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. In the United States, there have been many political prisoners, including Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown.
More recently, you will hear names like KC Massey, Cliven Bundy, Dwight Hammond, and more that have been targeted by the Federal government for their outspoken support of the US Constitution in it’s original form.
Believing that the Constitution should be adhered to in it’s strictest form is not a popular concept by elected and appointed officials in Washington DC. The current climate leans to the liberal stance of the Constitution being a ‘living, breathing’ document that should be changed and updated with the times.
‘Originalists’, like Justice Antonin Scalia, are unpopular in the current political environment. It does not fit with the progressive stances of abortion, same-sex marriage, and public land policies.
The question then surfaces, should those beliefs be imprisonable offenses? Does questioning the government, the elected officials and their policies, warrant the taking of liberty?
The questions further erode to the treatment of these political demonstrators. Do they deserve better or worse than hardened convicted criminals? Does the constitution allow for the mistreatment of anyone, much less those not yet convicted of a crime?
The Bill of Rights is specific to the rights of US citizens. They have the right to peaceably assemble. (1A) They have the right to bear arms. (2A) They have the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (1A)
The Bill of Rights also lays out specific details in the rights of the accused. They have the right to a speedy trial. (6A) They have the right against unreasonable searches. (4A) They have the right not to be a witness against themself. (5A)
Additional rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights include the right of trial by jury. (7A) The right to have the assistance of Counsel for his defense. (6A) And they shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. (5A)
The 8th Amendment states (in full) “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
It is very clear that everyone is to be treated with respect and fairness. It does not differentiate between gender, race, financial standing, or political parties.
Many countries around the world, including “Democratic” countries, have very strict penalties for insulting the heads of state, or disagreeing with the government. Penalties range from hefty fines to long imprisonments.
Not, however, in the United States. We have the right to Freedom of Speech, as guaranteed by our First Amendment.
So, why is it that a political prisoner can be treated worse by the government powers that be? Criminals are released to offend again. Violent offenders are offered bail. Yet, anyone the government sees as political radicals, such as the Bundy’s and those that agree with them, have been continuously imprisoned for their public disagreements with the federal authorities.
After the well-documented standoff in Bunkerville, in which no shots were fired and the only people harmed were done so by the federal agents, the government did not consider the Bundy family a threat. They were left to continue their life as they saw fit.
Two years later, after son Ammon Bundy called for a protest at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns, Oregon, federal authorities arrested all of the Bundy men and many of their supporters. Several of them have been incarcerated, as of this writing, for over 15 months.
They have been denied bail. They have been beaten and abused while in jail. They are still awaiting trial.
It has recently come to light that these men are withstanding even more abuse.
They are stripped searched every time they attend court, both before entering the courtroom and before returning to their cells. They endure this even when they are being visited in the jail by their attorneys.
Body cavity searches are commonplace. They are being kept in Solitary Confinement without cause. They are housed in filth, with no sanitation. Toilets do not operate. Hygiene is denied. And so much more.
Again, The 8th Amendment states “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
These men are being subjected to cruel and unusual punishments all because they disagree with their government.
Innocent until proven guilty is a doctrine that used to rule this country’s justice system. It no longer applies… unless you are willing to roll over and allow your country, and it’s founding principles, to be discarded at the whim of those that are supposed to be representing you.
We are a nation of laws, and a Constitutional Republic.
As long as you do not question your government.
Via Bundy Ranch: RYAN BUNDY IN HIS OWN WORDS ABOUT THE HORRIFIC CONDITIONS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. Dated March 24, 2017.