Parole Board Gives Sundiata Acoli, age 73, Ten Year Hit

“Prisons are a fundamental pillar of state power. Their main function is the suppression of all internal threats to the State.” – Sundiata Acoli

Jericho reports the following, from Sundiata Acoli:

July 14, 2010
Greetings All,

Received a letter today from the Board advising that the 3-Member Panel gave me a 10 year “hit.” The basis for the hit will be explained in the Notice of Decision which will be forwarded to me upon its completion. I’ll forward copies of the Decision to the Attys and SAFC when I receive it.

Stay strong, I will too.

L, S, Su

At the age of 73, Sundiata Acoli in a Prisoner of War who has spent over 35 years behind bars, earning him the sad honour of being one of the world’s longest serving PP/POWs. He is the victim of a vindictive and bloodthirsty criminal injustice system, of a counterinsurgency campaign against the legacy of the Sixties that alternates between ironic dismissal (“those silly hippies!”) and a brutal policy of burying revolutionaries alive in concrete dungeons.

The following is from his biography in the book Let Freedom Ring: a collection of documents from the movements to free U.S. political prisoners:

Born and raised in Texas, he graduated from Prairie View A & M College of Texas in 1956 with a B.S. in mathematics. For the next 13 years, he worked for various computer-oriented firms, mostly in the New York area.

During the summer of 1964, he did voter registration work in Mississippi. In 1968 he joined the Harlem Black Panther Party and did community work around issues of schools, housing, jobs, child care, drugs, and police brutality. In 1969 he and 13 others were arrested in the Panther 21 conspiracy case (they were charged with plotting to bomb major New York City department stores), part of the fbi’s cointelpro campaign to destroy the party. He was held in jail without bail and on trial for two years before being acquitted, along with all other defendants, by a jury deliberating less than two hours. Upon release, he found that fbi intimidation of potential employers shut off all employment possibilities in the computer profession, and stepped-up cointelpro harassment, surveillance, and provocations soon drove him underground.

In May 1973, while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, Sundiata and two of his comrades were ambushed by New Jersey state troopers. One of them, Zayd Shakur, was killed, and another, Assata Shakur, was wounded and captured. One state trooper was killed and another wounded, and Sundiata was captured days later. After a highly sensationalized and prejudicial trial, he was convicted of the death of the state trooper and of Zayd Shakur and was sentenced to life plus 30 years. (Assata was convicted in a separate but equally unfair trial; see also profile of Assata Shakur.)

Upon entering Trenton State Prison, he was confined to a new and specially created Management Control Unit solely because of his political background. Let out of the cell only 10 minutes a day for showers and two hours twice a week for recreation, he was held for almost five years. In September 1979, the International Jurist interviewed Sundiata and subsequently declared him a political prisoner. Days later, prison officials secretly transferred him to the federal prison system, where he was placed in the harsh, 23-hour-a-day-locked-down Marion (Illinois) Control Unit. He remained there for eight years. In 1992 he was denied parole. Among the Parole Board’s stated reasons were Sundiata’s pre-arrest membership in the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army and the board’s receipt of hundreds of “Free Sundiata” form letters that characterized him as a New Afrikan Prisoner of War. The courts rejected his appeal of that decision. In 2004, the Parole Board again turned down his application.

Sundiata is the author of the articles “A Brief History of the New Afrikan Prison Struggle” (1992) available at, and “A Brief History of the Black Panther Party and Its Place in the Black Liberation Movement” (1995), available at He also wrote a eulogy published in Kuwasi Balagoon: A Soldier’s Story (Kersplebedeb, 2003). A documentary feature film about Sundiata’s life, A Power Sun, is in development by Field Up Productions. For more information about the project and how to donate to it, visit

You can write to Sundiata at:

Sundiata Acoli #39794-066 (Squire)
P.O. Box 1000
FCI Otisville
Otisville, NY 10963-1000 

And learn more about the campaign to support him at


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