Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Solidarity from Illinois!!!

DRIVE received the following message of support for Kenneth Foster. It is from Mark Clements, a torture victim of Chicago police chief John Burge. At the age of 16, Mark signed a false confession after being beaten, threatened, and having had his genitals squeezed. He was denied access to anyone, including his mother, during interrogation. No physical evidence connects him to the crime for which he was convicted.

Mark is still in prison after 26 years. He is now 42 years old and still fighting his unjust 4 life-sentences plus a 30-year conviction.

Mark's statement:


Poor people all across this country have greatly suffered injustices administered by the criminal justice system, but no other race more than African Americans.

The state of Texas has executed the mentally ill, innocent men and my innocent beautiful sister Francis Newton. Now the state of Texas plans to execute Kenneth Foster, Jr. - why? Because he drove a friend — Mauriceo Brown in his car. As Mr. Foster was parked, listening to loud music, Mr. Brown eases out of the car and shoots a man eighty feet away. Mr. Brown admits he committed the shooting without Mr. Foster’s knowledge. Let me emphasize, Mr. Foster’s car windows were rolled up as he listened to loud music.

This is a prime example of how the death penalty is abused and misused in this country by prosecutors, judges, and even political elected officials. The shooter took responsibility for his behavior, he admitted he only committed this crime, not Mr. Foster. The state of Texas executed Mauriceo Brown, in July 2006. This should have put an end to this case.

All too often, innocent men sit behind prison walls for decades before the courts, or Governor correct what should have been done at the direct appeal level. There is compelling evidence to support that Mr. Foster is totally innocent. This is one case of many to suggest how unfairly the death penalty is imposed upon poor people. Had Mr. Foster been white or rich in Texas, I believe he would not be sitting on death row for this crime, and it is doubtful he would have been prosecuted.

It is time, beyond time, that the death penalty be abolished in this country. Governor of Texas Rick Perry, I strongly urge you to spare the life of Mr. Kenneth Foster. Readers of this article, I request that you email your local television and radio news agencies asking them to do stories on this case. With your support Mr. Foster can gain back what was stolen from him, his freedom. This innocent man may die on August 30th, 2007 if you don’t act now.

Mark Clements
Pontiac Correctional Center
PO Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764

Statements of support for DRIVE from fellow prisoners can be found at the DRIVE website under the tab "In Solidarity"

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