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HomeFeatured StoryBOP denies furlough to Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera

BOP denies furlough to Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera

May 22, 2010

The Federal Bureau of Prisons [BOP] has turned down requests that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera be allowed an emergency furlough, to travel to the bedside of his sister, Clara López Rivera, in intensive care in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The BOP claims that López does not meet the criteria, that a prisoner can have no more than two years left to serve on his sentence to be eligible. In refusing to exercise discretion to grant the requests from López’ attorney, the National Boricua Human Rights Network and the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico for this humanitarian relief, the BOP ignores more than 1,000 letters of support from the U.S. and Puerto Rico, collected in just 48 hours. It also ignores the fact that if López had accepted the terms of president Clinton’s 1999 clemency offer, he would have been released last September.

While the denial is consistent with the BOP’s history of abusive treatment of López and other Puerto Rican political prisoners, there is precedent for such furloughs: in 1977, Nationalist prisoners Lolita Lebrón and Rafael Cancel Miranda were both allowed to attend funerals of immediate family members, with many years yet to serve on their lengthy sentences.

During this stressful moment, López’ only contact with his family is through telephone, and he must measure each call, as he has limited access to the phone. His older sister Clara has been a formative force in his life. It now appears unlikely that she will live long enough to enjoy life with her little brother upon his release from prison.

Messages of support can be sent to him at:

Oscar López Rivera
FCI Terre Haute
Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

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