November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
Free Richard Sitcha, Detainee
Vigil - 1pm Jan. 15, 2005, Vigil at the Franklin County Jail, 160 Elm Street, Greenfield, MA 01301. See the photo album of the vigil.
Franklin County neighbors came together on Martin Luther King's birthday to vigil for Richard Sitcha, a detainee being held in the Franklin County Jail. Singing freedom songs such as "We shall not be moved" and "God Danced the day You Were Born," the spirited crowd made a point to passersby, jail visitors, guards and perhaps prisoners.
Sitcha is innocent of any crime and is being held immorally. Suzanne Carlson is one of the people on his visitors list. She asked Richard if he would mind our having a vigil to honor his human rights work and that of Martin Luther King, Jr. Suzanne sees him regularly and is willing to coordinate visits, which are limited to 5 people within any two-week period for a total of 1.5 hours per week. In December Amandla visited the jail and sang in four areas. Suzanne told us Richar was beaming and very grateful for community support.
People may write to him at the jail – he speaks French, English and Spanish. Also, people may send him books and magazines through a retail store; he cannot receive these things directly in the mail.
Sunny Miller has called the jail to arrange a visit to the jail library for next Friday if folks are interested. Please call Traprock at 413 773-7427. This will be good preparation for determining what books or magazines are most needed there.
According to Betsy Calvert (Springfield Republican – 1/16/05 – the state and county bring in about $1 million a year from the federal government for jailing federal prisoners, who are almost all INS detainees. The number of federal detainees and prisoners at the jail ranges from 45 to 60, with almost all being in for immigration violations.
Vigil photo above © 2005 Sunny Miller.
Richard Sitcha is a para-legal from Cameroon and formerly a Hartford
resident, who was unjustly arrested and imprisoned by the Department of
Homeland Security. He was arrested in September 2003 under a "Pilot
Program," part of the Department of Immigration and Naturalization which
arrested immigrants before their deportation appeals, but never charged them
with any crime. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday Traprock
Peace Center supported the initiative of neighbors to hold a vigil outside
the Franklin County Jail. For more information, see resources below or call 773-7427.
In Cameroon the most well known case Richard Sitcha worked on was the
"Bepanda 9." He assisted the families of nine youths who were disappeared by
the secret police of Cameroon. For this, Richard was tortured and threatened
with death by the secret police. Richard fled Cameroon. In January 2003,
Richard was granted asylum in the U.S. His asylum has since then been
revoked, and in his words: "they should have given me time to leave America
instead to send me in prison where I’m suffering... if time have been given
to me to leave the country I should have do so. And seek my asylum somewhere
else." Richard was previously detained at the Osborn Connecticut
Correctional Facility in Somers, CT. and was transferred to the Franklin
County Jail in Greenfield, MA.
Thanks to Maurice, Suzanne Carlson, Carl Doerner and Keith Snow and others for important initiatives in this case.
See also letter by Richard Sitcha:
Download Letter by Carl Doerner, local advocate for Richard Sitcha (doc format) (pdf format)
November, 4, 2004 - West County News - http://www.westernmassafsc.org/statements/SITCHA.HTM
August 5, 2004 - Valley Advocate News - http://www.valleyadvocate.com/gbase/News/content?oid=oid:76545
September 17, 2004 - Andrew Cohen supports Cameroonian asylum seeker's bid for freedom
September 17, 2004 - New Focus Radio - The continuing case of Richard Sitcha, detainee
July 8, 2004 - Free Speech Radio report - http://www.fsrn.org/news/20040708_news.html
June 2, 2004 - Keith Harmon Snow, journalist - http://www.allthingspass.com/journalism.php?jid=93
January 3, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks and Sunny Miller.