Another Rasta in Jail 22 years now wrongfully.
Free Ras Heron from Captivity (Sis Makeda Hannah)
Rasta Board / Rastafari Speaks
Yes-I give thank MAMA Makeda. There are some updates to this also that I would like ones and ones to not just make lip service to this injustice, but to really join efforts in freeing this true rastaman. Please write to him and his lawyer in offering support:
Fantastic news. For one...they have moved Rasta-I Ashanti I very close to NYC, His new address is
Michael Heron 80-B-1375
Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, NY 12589
Also, another "false" witness has stepped up to say they were "mistaken". As the investigation continues, it looks very upful in favor of our bredren. Please write him and his lawyer and show your support.
This is how u can address a letter to his lawyer:
July 13TH, 2001
Jesse M. Siegel
Attorney at Law
251 East 61st Street
New York, NY 10021
Re: Heron v. Coughlin, 93 Civ. 5284 (AKH)(HDP)
Dear Mr. Siegel:
I represent a voice in the Rastafari collective, the Pan-Africanist community and a member of the support network that is in the facilitation towards the fair trial and representation of Mr. Michael Heron, #80-B-1375. I appreciate your efforts, however, am encouraging you to seek more advanced attempts towards your client Michael Heron. If you need assistance, I will be willing to comply to that which is within my power. I thank you again and look forward to hearing from you.
Empress Fiyah Oates
THIS IS HIS "Summary of Imprisonment"
By: The Michael Heron Political Defense Committee
Dated: June 14, 2001
Michael Owen Heron has been locked up at various different prisons in the United States, continuously, for 22 years now. He has been falsely imprisoned and is the victim of mistaken identity. He has also been pleading for help from the Jamaian Government, civil liberties organizations, as well as from individuals since his incarceration in 1979.
Mr. Heron was arrasted by the New York Police and questioned about his alleged involvement in running guns from the U.S.A. to Jamaica upon the orders of former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Michael Manley. He was accused of being one of Michael Dunbar aka Gilligan, who was wanted for carrying out two political assassinations for the People’s National Party of Jamaica leading up to the 1980 general election, as well as for drug smuggling and using the proceeds to buy weapons and send them back to Jamaica. Gilligan was the crony of former political activist Aston ‘Bucky’ Marshall.
The evidence presented at trial against Mr. Heron was fabricated againsthim because he refused the offer of giving false evidence against Michael Manley and the Peoples National Party on videotape. He was also questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New York City Police, the New York City Intelligence Unit, and other unidentified individuals where he denied all the allegations that were made against him. However, he was found guilty and sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment.
At the moment of his conviction, Heron appealed to the Jamaican Government for assistance. 14 years later Deputy Consul General of Jamaica, Mrs. Effie Stewart paid Mr. Heron his first visit. Not too long after this first meeting with the Governemnt, he was informed that the identity of Michael Dunbar was retrieved from the Jamaican Police. A document, dated May 23, 1994, which bears the letterhad of the Jamaican consulate in New York and the signature of Mrs. Effie Stewart and was addressed to the U.S. District Court: "I am writing you at the request of Mr. Michael Owen Heron, Jamaican inmate #80-B-1375 incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York who currently has a case before you.
"This is to advise that investigation at the police headquarters in Jamaica (Interpol Division) has revealed evidence that there are at least two Jamaicans with the Name Michael Dunbar with criminal records. This office stands ready and willing to assist any court appointed counsel/investigator with information to this effect. Investigations also revealed that there was no criminal record for Michael Owen Heron. I hope this information is useful in your deliberation."
Two sworn statements, signed by notary publics, given by key witnesses in Mr. Heron’s trial, state that the witnesses were forced to give false testimony aganst him and that they would like to withdraw their false testimony against the convicted man and would be ready to testify when Mr. Heron’s case was called up.
One witness in his statement mentioned that prior to his testimoney, he was questoined by police officers about Michael Heron. A couple of weeks afterwards, the witness states that he was arrested and charged with robbery and weapon possession by the New York Police. The witness claims he was offered a plea bargain for a lighter sentence by the prosecutors if he helped them to convict Michael Heron. He was then instructed to engage the accused man in conversation pertaining to his charges when he was placed in a holding pen at the Bronx County Supreme Court. Because he had not been able to get any incriminating evidence from the suspect the witness states that he was told to lie in court.
A second witness for the prosecution, Karl Francis, claimed that he was forced to testify against Heron after he was threatened at gunpoint by another man, and that he was given information about the crime scene by the prosecutor. This witness stated the following:
"Prior to my testimony before the District Attorney and the Court, I was forced by one Buckie Marshall and Gilly at gunpoint, to testify against Michael Heron or else my family and myself would be killed. To protect my family as well as myself, I did as they ordered and testified against Michael Heron as a false witness....I testified that at the night of the crime I saw the defendant and spoke to him while standing at a bar in the building where the party was in session. Subsequently I saw Micheal Heron, about twenty (20) yards away with a gun shooting someone.... The truth is I wasn’t even at the party and therefore knew nothing about it. The testimony which was given by me under oath was a lie against the defendant."
The Casework Coordinator for Amnesty International in the US in 1996, Claudia Martyl Sisson, has also taken up Mr. Heron’s case. She has wrote to the Jamaian Government in 1996, explaining the imprisoned man’s condition of two occassions, informing them that Mr. Heron meets the requirement of being a political prisoner and that he appeared to have been in prison innocently. She urged that his case be taken up and that Heron was deserving of assistance.
Mr. Heron had filed a Habeas Corpus Motion to the United States Federal Court and received a reply last year stating that he had produced enough evidence to warrant a hearing. At the present moment the hearing has not been held as yet.
Mr. Heron is hoping that some assistance will be rendered in the following areas before the commencement of the hearing:
1. Public support in letters contacting the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office requesting them to loook into the case closely.
2. That the public show up at the hearing to show their support.
3. That his court appointed counsel be contacted at: Jesse M. Siegel, 251 East 61 Street, NY, NY 10021, and encouraged to do his best with the hearing.
4. That letters of support be sent to Mr. Heron at : Michael Owen Heron, #80-B-1375, Clinton Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 2001, Dannemora, New York 12929.
Beloveds Bro. Ashanti I (Michael Heron) has sent I these words to bring to you. This man has suffered 22 years in prison for false identity, which we all know was just a cover up to close the books on a case. Please show your support. He has a chance to beat the system. He is a great soldier in Rastafari, let us make our VOICES HEARD...NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!!
We have plenty of our own imprisoned that need our Help, Rasta-I Ashanti-I is representing at this time a great injustice that needs to be dealth with..
I wish u great ITAL-nal Love