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In February, Black Panther Party member Herman Bell will face his seventh parole board hearing over 42 years of imprisonment by the State of New York.

Samidoun urges all supporters of political prisoners to sign a petition for his release, and is circulating the following appeal by the campaign to Free Herman Bell:

Herman Bell was part of the Black Panther Party, and the liberation movements of the 60’s and 70’s. As such, he was targeted by the government’s illegal counterintelligence program. He was convicted of killing two New York police officers in 1971. His first trial ended in a hung jury. In his second, the prosecution used illegal tactics, including making a secret deal to drop charges against one witness in exchange for her testimony, and calling a witness who had been previously tortured by law enforcement; who then later admitted to lying on the stand. The case against him is so egregious, such an abomination of justice, there isn’t space in this letter to expound upon it. You can learn more about it at freehermanbell.org.

Herman was sentenced to 25 years to life for the shooting deaths of two New York police. In Feb. 2016, he will be 68 years old. He’s been a model prisoner and earned his B.A and M.A in Sociology while in prison. He has taught other prisoners English grammar, writing skills and Black History. He has coached football and basketball. With Maine farmers, he initiated the Victory Gardens Project, an eight-year program which brought urban and rural people together to grow food to give away in low income urban communities. This is a man who is committed to improving himself and his community. He is a dedicated grandfather, father, and husband. Because of his age, educational achievements and decades in prison, he falls into the U.S. Justice Department’s category of the extremely low recidivism rate of roughly 1%. He not only poses no risk to society, society would benefit from his release. Let’s get him back with us.

Herman has taken responsibility for his part in the Black Liberation Movement’s resistance to racist authority. He has paid a great price – 42 years of imprisonment, thus far. He is going to the New York state parole board for the seventh time in February 2016 and deserves to be paroled, to come home to his family and community.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please write your letter to the parole board on professional letterhead. 
  • Please indicate how you know Herman, or if you don’t know him personally, how you know of him.
  • Your letter should be addressed to: “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Parole Commissioner”. The subject line should be “Herman Bell, 79C-0262.”
  • Please sign your letter and mail to Herman’s attorney:  
    Robert J. Boyle, 277 Broadway, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10007.

Herman very much appreciates your efforts and your support.

Click here to hear Herman’s message about his upcoming parole board appearance.

Click here to read the text of his message.