Letter Writing Night

Freedom Bookshop in Aldgate has started hosting a monthly letter writing night to prisoners – come along, hang out and write cos sometimes it’s nice to do things together. If you have someone you would like us to write to, email shop[at]freedompress[dot]org[dot]uk.

When? The first Thursday of every month

Time? 6-8pm

Where? Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX

letter writing night

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NYE Prisoner solidarity demonstration beginning at

8:00 pm Pentonville

then moves onto

9:30 pm Holloway

START ADDRESS: HMP Pentonville,Caledonian Rd, London N7 8TT


Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1522093921410227/

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Debbie Vincent sentenced to 6 years in prison

Debbie Vincent


Debbie Vincent, long-term animal rights campaigner, comrade, and friend to many within the movement, was sentenced on 17th April to 6 years in prison, after a five-week long trial at Winchester Crown Court. Further to time in prison, she was given an Anti-Social Behavioural Order for an additional 5 years after her release.

Found guilty of ‘conspiracy to blackmail’, Debbie is the latest in a line of people persecuted for campaigning against the notorious animal testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences, where 500 animals are killed daily. As part of the ‘Blackmail 3′, there are two more defendants currently awaiting a possible extradition from Holland to face trial. To find out more about the case and how to support the other, visit http://blackmail3.org. Debbie was found guilty, despite the judge not finding her guilty of any actions herself, with Michael Bowes QC, the case prosecutor, stating “there is no evidence that Ms Vincent was present at the scene of any of the attacks, or incidents in Europe. There is no evidence that she was outside of the United Kingdom at the time of any of these attacks”, whilst the Met Police deployed an undercover officer, posing as a private security manager, as part of a sting operation to implicate her in acts she had no involvement with.

Debbie’s case is part of a series of convictions against animal rights campaigners, and serves as a wake-up call to all activists to show support and solidarity to those who are victims of state repression following effective resistance to corporate and state power. For additional information on the ongoing repression of UK animal rights activists see http://stopukrepression.org/

When Nijmegen ABC asked Debbie what sort of support she might need if the received a custodial sentence, she replied - “Practically, I’m not sure what my needs will be in prison, it will depend to a degree to where I go. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to cope, but being isolated from nature and friends will be the worst part. I will try to make the best of the bad situation, it’s all a bit daunting and new. The whole charge and court case are still amazingly surreal.”

“Keep on campaigning against all oppression and capitalist domination. Don’t be afraid to speak out and never apologise for trying to make a difference and caring.”


Support is as ever vital; write letters to Debbie in prison at:
Debbie Vincent  A5819DE
HMP Send
Ripley Road
GU23 7LJ


“What is scary in this world is oppression and injustice, when people hurt people, animals and nature. What is beautiful in this world is resistance, when people say ‘enough is enough’ and act.

Oppression and injustice are everywhere, but so is resistance. Because some people know that if you fight you might lose, but if you don’t fight, you’ve already lost.”

Debbie Vincent

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London ABC presents a season of films at Goldsmiths University depicting struggle and resistance behind prisons walls.

Screening 1 RHB small cinema
Thursday the 8th of May 7.30 pm: Scum (1977) This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders.

Screening 2 RHB 136
Thursday the 15th of May 7.30 pm: A Prophet (2009) A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.

Screening 3 RHB small cinema
Thursday the 22nd of May 7.30 pm: Cool hand Luke (1967) A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison.

Screening 4 RHB 356
Thursday the 29th of May 7.30: Attica (1980) The story of the 1971 Attica prison rebellion and the brutal state repression.

Screenings will be followed by Q&A with memebers of London ABC



University of London,
SE14 6NW

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Kevan Thakrar moved to HMP Whitemoor

Kev was transferred to the segregation unit of HMP Whitemoor on the 17th of December 2013.

Please use the exact address below as some of his mail is going to his brother who is also there.

Rather than being on the CSC unit he is on a punishment regime. No explanation has been given for this, apart from that he has refused to engage with interventions. This is nonsense as no psychologist came to see him in HMP Manchester. They only moved him because of the Judicial Review that he had taken out against the prison authorities.

Right now he is in a cell with no heating, nor access to showers or phone calls on a daily basis, and no access to gym equipment at all. He expects to stay at least until the 21st of January when there is a CSC Managament Committee Meeting. Please write to him at:

Kevan Thakrar – A4907AE
Segregation Unit
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
PE15 0PR

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Ihar Alinevich‘s On the Way to Magadan


On December, 10, the International Human Rights Day, the Belarusian PEN Centre and Radio Liberty announced the winners of Frantsishak Aliakhnovich award for the best work written in prison. Ironically, as the award is often called ‘prisonous’ its founders would like it to become a thing of the past as soon as possible.

The jury state that in the course of selection procedure they were guided by artistic values of the books rather than the description of prison’s grave realities.

In 2013, Ihar Alinevich‘s book On the Way to Magadan based on his diary was published. The jury recognized Mr Alinevich as the first winner comprised some writers who had experienced prison first hand.

‘Firstly, this book is second to none talking not only about all the books about the man in prison written in Belarus but about world literature in general. Secondly, it was published before the rest and made a greater emotional impression on people. Thirdly, the author’s courage counts,’ Uladzimir Niakliayeu, a poet and ex-political prisoner, says.

On the Way to Magadan is well known not only in Belarus, but also abroad. It has been translated into several European languages.

‘As many as three books have already got to Butyrka [the largest detention centre in Moscow], and people have to wait a bit to borrow it. Prisons’ walls are equally solid in Russia, Spain or Ukraine, they say. Maybe, they are even stronger in Belarus than in other countries,’ Valiantsina Alinevich, the winner’s mother, says. Mrs Alinevich received the prize on behalf of her son; the woman repeatedly voiced support to him, which might well have led to her facing problems at work.

The award was named as a tribute to Frantsishak Aliakhnovich, a Belarusian writer, journalist and Gulag survivor. His experience provided a basis for his 1934 book of In the Claws of the GPU.

Ihar Alinevich was sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment in a high-security correctional institution being adjudged guilty of arsoning the Russian Embassy building in Minsk. He did not plead guilty to the charge.

To Download a copy follow this link  http://abc-belarus.org/?p=3890&lang=en

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new years eve demo 2013


START ADDRESS: HMP Pentonville,Caledonian Rd, London N7 8TT

link to facebook:


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London ABC Winter Letter Writing Afternoon, Sunday 15th Dec, 2013

As you sit in your cold damp overpriced flat in london contemplating the above inflation ticket price increase in the new year. Spare a thought for those imprisoned within the prisons structures in london the UK and all over the world Unable to walk out of there cell and head to the nearest warm pub or more importantly seek the support of friends and loved ones who provide support while struggling against ever increasing waves of oppression and brutality inside prison.

1990 Strangeways prison riot - london abc christmas card

1990 Strangeways prison riot – london abc christmas card

Come join London ABC at freedom bookshop on Sunday 15th December at 2.00 pm. To write letters and sign cards to send to comrades struggling all over the world. From anti-fascists to feminists no radical movement is not under vicious and coordinated attack by states and security agencies determined to totally crush resistance to capitalist oppression.


Sunday 15th 2.00 pm

freedom bookshop, angel alley 84b whitechapel high street, london, E1 7QX

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UK to build supersized jails


New Bromley Briefing Prison Factfile launched today

The Autumn 2013 edition of the Bromley Briefing Prison Factfile reveals that nearly half of people in prison in England and Wales could be warehoused in 1,000-plus supersized jails under government plans to transform the prison estate.

Headlines from PRT’s flagship publication include:

• Government plans could see close to one in two people behind bars held in prisons of 1,000-plus
• 2000-place prison in Wrexham planned with prospect of second giant sized establishment in London
• 40 % of prisoners are currently held in prisons of 1,000 places or more
• Ten years ago 18% of prisoners were held in prisons of 1,000 plus
• The number of supersized jails has nearly trebled in the past decade with 28 out of 124 prisons in England and Wales currently holding over 1,000 men
• Largest supersized jails are all in the private sector. G4S-run Oakwood (1,600) Birmingham (1,436) and Sodexo-led Forest Bank (1,348)
• Evidence from the HM Inspectorate of Prisons shows that larger prisons are less safe with fewer opportunities for rehabilitation
• Previously David Cameron has said that “the idea that big is beautiful with prisons is wrong.”

The pressure of budget cuts and economies of scale have led to the roll out of “Titan prisons by stealth” with a drive to close small community prisons, build larger jails and add additional capacity to existing establishments.

This is despite evidence published by the Prison Reform Trust and included in the briefing, based on data provided by HM Prisons Inspectorate, showing that smaller prisons tend to be safer and more effective than larger establishments, holding people closer to home and with a higher ratio of prison staff to prisoners.

The government plans to build a 2,000-place prison in Wrexham and is conducting a feasibility study for a second giant-sized institution in West London. Since 2010 there have been 13 closures of smaller prisons and a further six still to come.

In January the Justice Minister Jeremy Wright announced plans to open up an additional 1,260 places in four new house blocks across the prison estate.

On current trends the proposed changes will result in around 38,000 people held in 30 supersized jails across the country, the Prison Reform Trust’s analysis of the latest prison population statistics and projections reveals. This represents nearly half of the total number of people behind bars in England in Wales.

Read more about the facts and figures revealed by the latest edition of the Bromley Briefing Prison Factfile here. Early coverage in the media includes ITV News, LBC and local BBC radio, Evening Standard, Huffington Post and Belfast Telegraph.

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Belarusian anarchist political prisoner Aliaksandr Frantskevich released


He will be under police supervision for 6 months after the release.
Aliaksandr Frantskevich, who served his term in correctional colony No.
22 in Ivatsevichy, was released early in the morningof 3rd of September.
His mother and activists of opposition organisation met him outside the
prison. He will go to Navapolatsk to register with the police.
Frantskevich was arrested in connection with the “anarchist case” on
September 3, 2010.Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok and him were tried in
the Zavadski distirict court on May 27, 2011.
The activist was charged with violating part 2 of article 351 of the
Criminal Code (deliberate destruction of computer information) and part
2 of article 339 (hooliganism). He was charged with carrying out attacks
on government buildings and hacking the website of the Navapolatsk city
executive committee. He pleaded not guilty at the trial.
Frantskevich was sentenced to 3 years in a medium security correctional
colony. Belarusian human rights defenders declared him a political
prisoner in September 2011. The activists served his term in
correctional colony No. 22 in Ivatsevichy.
The political prisoner gave an interview to charter97.org on his way
from a penal colony in Ivacevichy to Minsk.
Aliaksandr Frantskievich, who served the term in the colony number 22 in
Ivacevichy, has been released today early in the morning. He was
sentenced to three years in prison in May 2011 on the case of anarchists
that made a lot of noise. Frantskievich, as well as other
representatives of the anarchist movement Ihar Alienievich and Mikalaj
Dziadok, was accused of organizing a series of arsons of administrative
buildings. Despite the guilt had not been proven and the damage caused
had been insignificant, the activists were sentenced to prison terms
from three to seven years.
- Aliaksandr, congratulations on the release. The authorities by all
means tried to present your, Mikalaj Dziadok and Ihar Alienievich’s case
as a usual criminal case, which made many human rights organizations
hesitate for long whether to call you political prisoners. How do you
assess your arrest and the arrest of your comrades?
- The goal of the authorities was not find the guilty, but to neutralize
the anarchist movement, regardless of what fighting methods we stick to.
For example, that in the course of the process another suspect Maksim
Vietkin was released, but me, Dziadok and Alienievich put in jail, says
that the position that we stack to in court was more important as well
as the corpus delicti that they tried to ascribe to us.
This an absolutely political case related exclusively to our political
beliefs. We are convinced that there is a dictatorship in the country,
and it should be fought. The more time I spent behind bar, the more I
was getting convinced of that.
- Does it seem coincidental to you that you were arrest three months
before the presidential elections?
- A catalyst for that was the attack on the Russian embassy. This had
international resonance, Lukashenka claimed that Russian special forces
were behind that. Of course, the approaching elections also played a role.
But had we been arrested not in September, we would have still ended up
in prison in December together with all the oppositionists, arrested
after the elections. Sooner or later this would have happened – with or
without corpus delicti – in any case we would have ended up under the
- There were allegations that your arrest before the elections and the
nature of the charges were a special operation, planned in order to
picture the opposition as radicals before the provocation on 19 December
- To a certain extent it was preparation for the elections. Although a
bit different agencies were involved in our case. It was the organized
crime department that dealt with the case’s major part, whereas it was
less involved in the 19 December events. But, in principle, their goal
was to stop our symbolic actions, which irritated the authorities and
then completely stop civil activities in the country in general.
Personally I think that on 19 December 2010 the authorities did not only
want to crush all the civil society. Lukashenka set the goal to keep his
own nomenclature, his own bureaucracy submitted to him, as at some point
they started considering him an insufficiently effective manager.
- What part did KGB play in your case?
- These were mainly organized crime department officers who spoke with
me. But it was obvious that KGB supervised their work, oversaw how they
managed to fulfill their duties.
- Did special service agents try to recruit you?
- Yes, at the investigation stage. Actually, my whole charges are based
on that I refused to cooperate on the investigation. They demanded
secret addresses, passwords, which I could not give them because of my
principled beliefs, that is why I ended up in prison.
- Do you have any information about Ihar Alienievich? He was kidnapped
in Moscow and sentenced to a tremendous term of 8 years in prison.
- Ihar Alienievich was a strong anarchist leader, he could speak
convincingly, knew the anarchist theoretical base very well. This is
what the charges against him were mainly based on.
In his book “Going to Magadan” Alienievich tells how special services
tried to recruit him. This tells that special services simply wanted to
use him for their own purposes, but when he refused to do that, they
dealt with him shortly, trying thus to break him psychologically.
- Did you manage to communicate a little during the trial?
- Yes, during the trial Ihar personally told me how he had been
kidnapped in Moscow. They were going for a meeting with one of our
comrades, who turned out to had been recruited by special services. Ihar
did not calculate it right, he thought that repressions would not reach
him in Moscow, but it turned out that Belarusian authorities had quite
long arms.
They were detained and taken to the border by car. Their detention was
registered in a kilometer from Belarus-Russia border. According to the
protocol, he was allegedly detained by some lieutenant.
- In three years of conviction you went through penal cells and prisons,
you were deprived of parcels, newspapers, books and letters from
relatives. Why did they treat you so harshly?
- To some extent it is connected with the pardon process, which
Belarusian authorities started. To some extent – with the conflicts with
the administration itself. All the influence methods, used against
political prisoners, are known.
I repeatedly heard of what was going on with Mikalaj Statkievich, Ihar
Alienievich. Such methods are used against everyone, who has principles,
beliefs, is not going to be recruited or cooperate with the administration.
- How specifically did they demand to sign a plea for pardon from you?
- I was specifically suggested that I signed a plea for pardon two
times. This was done by the colony’s head. He said that otherwise I had
to spend the whole imprisonment term, which actually did happen. Then,
as the pressure started, they hinted at that: everything that was going
on with me was related to my having to sign a plea for pardon.
This was done if not by the representatives of the administration, then
by their agents among the prisoners.
- How did these agents act?
- They created unbearable conditions around me. Not all the prisoners
openly cooperate with the administration, some do that in secret and
have the trust of other prisoners. They tried to create artificial
isolation around me, deprive me of the possibility to fully communicate
with anyone and thus break me psychologically.
- What help you to hold on all these three years. You went to prison as
a 20-year old boy.
- My beliefs and principles, my comrades, who constantly supported me. I
have kept my beliefs and am not going to refuse from them.
- Mikalaj Statkievich reported that the authorities try everything in
their attempts to break political prisoners, up to rape threats.
- They did not threaten me personally with that, but I believe that
Statkievich’s situation is very complicated, because as for today he is
the only presidential candidate in prison, he has quite a principled
position, he has a strong influence in the media and, of course, this
strongly irritates Lukashenka and his entourage.
- Now you’ll be under supervision for half-a-year. What does it imply?
- I have to be at home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., inform police if I move
to another place of residence, do not leave the district without police
department’s approval. I cannot go to bars, restaurants, places, where
they sell alcohol, although this ban is quite weird, since I do not
drink alcohol at all.
- What are your nearest plans at large?
- I am going to Minsk now. There I will make a job agreement. After a
short adaptation period at home in Navapolatsk I will come back.
I will be living in Minsk, participate in the anarchist movement, work
and provide for myself in some way.
I started writing in prison. At some point I thought that I the time had
to be spent intelligently. I had long had the idea to write sci-fi
stories, take up on literature. Now I am interested how readers will
perceive that.
Photo: Nasha Niva


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