Petition 80496

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Puerto Rican Political Prisoners (80496-GM-R274)

Amend  current Resolution #274 -  Puerto Rican Political Prisoners as follows:
  
  
WHEREAS, Methodists Associated to Represent the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA) celebrates the partial victory of the release of eleven Puerto Rican political prisoners; and
  
WHEREAS, there are six Puerto Rican political prisoners still unjustly incarcerated in federal prisons for terms unrealistic to their alleged crimes,

  
Whereas the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico have advocated for the liberation of Puerto Rican women and men sentenced to excessive punishment due to alleged crimes related to their struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico;
  
Whereas these persons have been in prison for a long time;
  
Whereas the sentencing of these persons intended to punish political activity more than the crimes they are accused of;
  
Whereas Puerto Rican political prisoners refused to participate in the U.S. court system because of their belief that the U.S. government was the colonial and enemy power.  
Whereas a number of Puerto Rican political prisoners were released from prison, but there are still some in prison;


Whereas the United Nations' resolutions on decolonization have clearly established that colonialism is a crime, and they recognize a colonized people's right to end colonialism. The United Nations also recognizes that these resolutions and laws apply to Puerto Rico. For many years, the United Nations Decolonization Committee has approved resolutions recognizing the inalienable right of Puerto Rico's people to independence and self-determination. The injustice suffered under Puerto Rico's colonial reality cannot be overlooked.  
  
Whereas the release of these prisoners is being supported by many civic, religious, and international organizations;

  
Therefore, be it resolved, that MARCHA and The United Methodist Church rededicate their efforts to continue the work towards the unconditional freedom and release of the six remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners;
Therefore be it resolved that the United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and MARCHA continue to advocate for the liberation of Puerto Rican political prisoners.
  
Be it also resolved that letters from the General Conference Secretary of the United Methodist Church, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church and of the Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico be sent to the President of the United States requesting that these persons be released from prison.

Be it further resolved, that the General Conference 2000 of The United Methodist Church adopt the existing resolution regarding the Puerto Rican political prisoners with this amendment.
These men and women received sentences that are excessive and geared toward punishing  
political activity more than the stated crimes and for refusing to participate in the U.S. judicial system process based on their own conscientious objection. A total of thirty Puerto Rican prisoners refused to participate in the U.S. court system because of their belief that the U.S. government was the colonial and enemy power. They requested a war court trial and were denied. Some of these thirty have served their sentences; others were let go because no valid case could be brought against them.
The United Nations' resolutions on decolonization have clearly established that colonialism is a crime, and they recognize a colonized people's right to end colonialism. The United Nations also recognizes that these resolutions and laws apply to Puerto Rico. For many years, the United Nations Decolonization Committee has approved resolutions recognizing the inalienable right of Puerto Rico's people to independence and self-determination. The injustice suffered under Puerto Rico's colonial reality cannot be overlooked. President Bush admitted that the people of Puerto Rico have never been consulted as equals on their political status.
The call for the release of these prisoners enjoys wide support in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and internationally. Many civic, religious, and international organizations have also joined in the effort.
We, as Christians, have been called to identify with the prisoners and their needs. We have been called to bring justice to them when injustice has taken place (Luke 4:18; Matthew 25:36).
Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church advocate for justice and freedom for the Puerto Rican political prisoners; furthermore, that a letter from the General Conference secretary be sent to the President of the United States asking him to grant pardon, because they have more than sufficiently served their sentences, to all fourteen Puerto Rican political prisoners who are presently found in federal and state prisons; and in addition, that a copy of the letter be forwarded to Dr. Luis Nieves Falcon, coordinator of the effort to free the Puerto Rican political prisoners.

ADOPTED 1996, AMENDED AND READOPTED 2000
See Social Principles, ΒΆ 164A and E.