Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oscar Lopez Rivera - Obama Commutes Sentence

Here come Obama's parting pardons and commutations.

From Heavy:

Oscar Lopez Rivera: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

1. Lopez Rivera Rejected President Bill Clinton’s Offer of Conditional Clemency

2. He Became Disillusioned by the U.S.’ Treatment of Puerto Rico After Serving in Vietnam & Believed the Island Was Treated as a Colony

3. The Deadliest FALN Bombing Took Place in January 1975, When 4 Were Killed at a New York Restaurant

4. Lopez Rivera Admitted to His Crimes During His 1981 Sentencing Hearing, but Called Himself a Political Prisoner

5. A Special UN Committee Called for All Puerto Rican Political Prisoners to Be Released in 2006

From the Chicago Tribune: Obama commutes sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, member of Puerto Rican militant group
President Barack Obama commuted Lopez' prison sentence for his role in an organization that in the 1970s and early '80s plotted bombings, prison escapes and armed robberies in an effort to secure independence for Puerto Rico.

...With Obama's commutation, Lopez, 74, will leave prison by May 17. In recent years, his cause had been taken up by pop culture figures, religious leaders and political luminaries. Former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Francis and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois' 4th district supported his release, as did South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Reaction to Tuesday's action by Obama, one of more than 200 commutations granted by the president on Tuesday, went well beyond Chicago. "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in a tweet from London said he was "sobbing with gratitude" after learning that Obama had commuted Lopez's sentence. Miranda said he would reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton at a Chicago performance for Lopez.

...Lopez was a leader of FALN, an acronym for the Spanish translation of the Armed Forces of National Liberation. He was found guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 1981 of weapons, explosives and seditious conspiracy charges, and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He received an additional 15 years in 1988 after he was convicted of plotting to escape from federal prison.

FALN's goal was a free and socialist Puerto Rico. The group was primarily active in New York and Chicago and claimed responsibility for more than 140 bombings since 1974. Authorities connected five deaths to the bomb blasts. Another 100 people were maimed as a result of the bombings, authorities said.

The group's most notorious bombing occurred at New York's landmark Fraunces Tavern in 1975. Four people were killed and more than 60 injured. Lopez was not convicted of any role in that attack, but some still hold him responsible because of his ties to the ultranationalist group.

"I'm willing to forgive, but he never once said he was sorry, showed no remorse at all," said Mary Connor Tully, whose husband, Frank Connor, was killed in the bombing. "He's an old man and he'll get to live his life free, and hopefully he can live with the sins he committed, and that he'll answer one day to a higher power than us for what he did."

Pope Francis?

I guess I'm missing something here.

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