YOUR LETTERHEAD GOES HERE
Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Re: Oscar López Rivera, 87651-024
FCI Terre Haute
Dear President Obama,
As [your title, such as elected Member of the Chicago City Council] I write to urge you to commute Mr. López Rivera’s sentence and grant him immediate release. I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of many national and international figures and human rights and religious organizations who support his release, including the United Nations Decolonization Committee.
Mr. López Rivera, a 71-year-old Vietnam veteran and former community organizer, was one of many Puerto Rican men and women arrested in the early 1980’s and convicted of acts related to the movement for the independence of Puerto Rico and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 35 to 90 years. In August of 1999, President Clinton determined that their sentences were disproportionately lengthy, and offered to commute them to time served. Most accepted the President’s offer, and the Puerto Rican people on the island and in Puerto Rican and Latino communities throughout the U.S. welcomed them as heroes. As to Mr. López Rivera, he offered to commute his sentence on the condition that he serve an additional 10 years in prison with no disciplinary infractions, making his release date September of 2009. Had he accepted the offer, he would have been released over two years ago. Meanwhile, he has successfully served an additional 12 years with no disciplinary infractions.
President Clinton’s critics insisted that those released were unrepentant terrorists who would engage in acts of violence and create havoc and mayhem. None of their predictions has come true. Since 1999, his compatriots established productive, law-abiding lives, embraced by and fully integrated into civil society, and after just five years, the Parole Commission granted early termination of their supervision, with the full support of Puerto Rican civil society. In July of 2010, the Parole Commission granted release to his compatriot Carlos Alberto Torres, after he served 30 years of his 70-year sentence, again at the urging of Puerto Rican civil society, in the U.S. and on the island, and the human rights community.
In 2009, when Attorney General holder was questioned in his confirmation hearings, he defended President Clinton’s decision to grant clemency as “reasonable,” noting that they had not committed any acts resulting in death or bodily injury, mentioning the significant amount of time they had served in prison, and listing the broad support for their release, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Coretta Scott King and President Carter.
Mr. López Rivera is now the only pro-independence prisoner arrested in the 1980’s who is still in prison.
The stellar record established by all of Mr. López Rivera’s compatriots, as well as the breadth of economic, social and family support that awaits him, certainly provides assurance that he will conduct himself in similar fashion.
As [your title, such as elected Member of the [YOUR CITY] City Council], I urge you to commute his sentence and grant him immediate release. Thank you.
[your title, such as elected Member of the [YOUR CITY] City Council]