Oscar López Rivera come home! The International Campaign for his freedom
The National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) advocates for the release Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Given the injustice of his lengthy sentence, and the irrationality of his continuing imprisonment, we add our voice to the voice of the many civic, religious, political and community leaders in the U.S., Puerto Rico and abroad who have asked him to come home, be it by presidential commutation or parole.
López, arrested in 1981, is serving a sentence of 70 years for seditious conspiracy, for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico. He was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. His projected release date is in 2023. Having already served 29 years behind bars, including over 12 years in torturous conditions of total isolation and sensory deprivation, this 67-year-old man is among the longest held political prisoners in the history of Puerto Rico and in the world.
In 1999, President Clinton commuted the sentences of 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners arrested in the 1980s, after they served from 16 to 20 years. President Clinton offered to commute Oscar’s sentence, on the condition that he serve an additional 10 years of clear conduct in prison before being eligible for release. Oscar did not accept the president’s offer, as the offer did not include all the Puerto Rican political prisoners at that time. Under the president’s offer, he would have been released in Sept. of 2009. The conditions of Clinton’s 1999 offer to commute Oscar’s sentence have been fulfilled.
Of all the Puerto Rican political prisoners convicted in the early 1980’s, only Oscar remains in prison. Carlos Alberto Torres, who was not included in the commutation, was released on parole in July of 2010 after serving 30 years. All those released in the 1999 commutations are living successful lives and have fully integrated into civil society.
Oscar continues to enjoy wide support for his release, including Puerto Rican civil society: the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Bar Association, former governors, virtually every religious denomination, labor unions, environmentalists, academics, mayors, community activists, human rights activists, and celebrities. Similarly, in the United States he enjoys the support of Latino & Puerto Rican communities, including elected officials, religious leaders, community & civic leaders, as well as a groundswell of grassroots support.