Jalil Muntaqim was 19 years old when he was arrested. He is a former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. For the past 42 years, Jalil has been a political prisoner, and one of the New York Three (NY3), in retaliation for his activism in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Jalil was born October 18, 1951, in Oakland, CA. His early years were spent in San Francisco, attending elementary school where he received a Summer scholarship for a high school chemistry program. Jalil attended high school in San Jose, CA, where he earned a Summer scholarship for the San Jose State College math and engineering program. Jalil participated in NAACP youth organizing during the civil rights movement. In high school, he became a leading member of the Black Student Union, often touring in “speak-outs” with the BSU Chairman of San Jose State and City College.
After the assassination of Dr. King, Jalil began to believe a more militant response to racism and injustice was necessary. He began to look towards the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for leadership. After moving back to San Francisco from San Jose, he was recruited into the BPP by old elementary school friends who had since become Panthers.
Two months shy of his 20th birthday, Jalil was captured along with Albert “Nuh” Washington in a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco police. When Jalil was arrested, he was a high school graduate and employed by the California Department of Human Resources as a social worker.
While in San Quentin prison in California in 1976 before being paroled and moved to New York, Jalil launched the National Prisoners Campaign to Petition the United Nations to recognize the existence of political prisoners in the United States. Progressives nationwide joined this effort, and the petition was submitted in Geneva, Switzerland. This led to attorney Lennox Hinds and the National Conference of Black Lawyers having the UN International Commission of Jurists tour U.S. prisons and speak with specific political prisoners. The International Commission of Jurists then reported that political prisoners did in fact exist in the United States. It was this overall campaign that resulted in Andrew Young, who was at the time Ambassador to the U.N., being dismissed from his post by President Jimmy Carter, because Young acknowledged perhaps as many as 1,000 political prisoners existed in the United States.
Jalil put out the call for the Jericho March on Washington in Spring 1998, which was answered by over 6,000 supporters demanding recognition of and amnesty for U.S. political prisoners. The Jericho Amnesty Movement (JAM) aims to gain the recognition by the U.S. government and the United Nations that political prisoners exist in this country, and that on the basis of international law, they should be granted amnesty because of the political nature of their cases, especially those who were COINTELPRO targets.
Since in the New York prison system, Jalil wrote and submitted a legislative bill for prisoners with life sentences to receive good time off their minimum sentences. This bill was introduced to the NYS Assembly Committee on Corrections. Jalil has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of prisoners’ rights.
Jalil has received awards of appreciation from Jaycee’s, NAACP, and Project Build for his active participation and leadership. After many years of being denied the opportunity to attend college, Jalil graduated from SUNY-New Paltz with a double major, BA in Sociology and BS in Psychology in 1994. He also obtained certificates in Architectural Drafting and Computer Literacy. He would like to pursue his Master’s degree, but has not been allowed by DOCCS.
During his imprisonment, Jalil has become a father and a great grandfather. He states, “I came to prison an expectant father and will leave prison a great grandfather.”
Jalil has worked as an educator of other inmates and practices organizing and advocacy whenever possible to ensure the most adequate, humane treatment for all people. He has been repeatedly punished for these activities, through physical abuse, formal discipline, and numerous prison transfers. Jalil is presently working to develop a national campaign to demand the amnesty and release of BPP COINTELPRO victims who has been languishing in prison 30-40 years (www.BPPCOINTELPRO.com). To learn more, check www.freejalil.com.
A Voice of Liberation
please note that this video interview is also available on the Freedom Archives DVD Voices of Three Political Prisoners, available via Leftwingbooks.net
Part 1 (9:58 minutes)
Part Two (9:37 minutes)
Partial List of Writings by Jalil Muntaqim available online
- “The Cold War of the 90’s” in Issue #52 of Prison News Service, Sept. – Oct. 1995.
- “The Criminalization of Poverty” is a chapter of Schooling the Generations in the Politics of Prison , edited by Chinosole (Berkeley, CA: New Earth Publications, 1996).
- “America Reaps What it Sows” , commentary on the September 11th attacks in the United States
- Reparations In Our Lifetime! June 22 2001
- A Political Prisoner’s Journey in the U.S. Prison System, written in 2005
Please note that a much more complete list of Jalil’s writings is available on the Free Jalil! website
The New York Three
A pdf version of this and other information regarding the New York 3 and Jalil Muntaqim can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here (30K)
A fifteen page package of documents pertaining to police and FBI conduct in this case can be viewed in PDF format by clicking here (1.7 megs)