No Comment — March 22, 2009, 11:30 am

The Prisoner

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Brendan DeMelle discuss the plight of one of the best known of the political prisoners of the Bush era, Paul Minor, in this piece in the Huffington Post:

Paul Minor did his best to comfort Sylvia, his wife of 41 years, during his brief February 20th visit. He tried to feed her, to talk with her, and to care for her the way he wished he could on every one of her final days in hospice care. Sylvia is in the last stages of terminal brain cancer, which has now spread to both of her lungs, her bones and her spine. Sometimes her mind is sharp and her conversation lucid, but there are bad days; her mind shuts down when her pain becomes too excruciating to endure. Unfortunately Minor’s visit occurred on one of Sylvia’s bad days… After three short hours with Sylvia, Minor’s prison guards whisked him back to the Pensacola federal prison camp. When the Minors’ daughter Kathryn spoke to her mom the next day during a lucid moment, Sylvia had no memory of Paul’s visit.

Minor’s abbreviated visit to his wife’s bedside was only the latest bitter moment for an American hero. Karl Rove’s crooked henchmen at the U.S. Justice Department have turned this dignified gentleman’s life into a horrible ordeal that is a disgrace to American democracy. One of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Minor stands convicted on partisan political charges ginned up by Rove’s right wing toadies at the Department of Justice. Paul Minor is serving the second year of a breathtaking 11-year sentence for non-violent, white collar crimes he did not commit.

Minor’s “crime” consisted of making campaign donations to Democratic candidates for judgeships in Mississippi, setting back plans hatched by Karl Rove and Hailey Barbour (then RNC chair and now governor of Mississippi) to take control of the state’s judiciary by flooding the electoral process with dollars from G.O.P.-loyal out-of-state business interests. The details of his case were surveyed here and here. His appeal is slated to be argued in New Orleans on April Fool’s Day.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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