Ohio Prisoner Charged for Doing an Interview about the National Prison Strike


Siddique Hasan, an inmate at Ohio State Penitentiary, is facing sanctions after doing an interview with NPR about the national prison strike that began Sept. 9. As Scene reported prior to the strike, prison officials have gone to lengths to keep information contained within the walls of their institutions. Media coverage has been duly scant.

He was charged with “unauthorized use of telephone or violation of mail and visiting rules." Laura Gardner, the warden’s assistant, told The Intercept that “per DRC’s media policy, telephone media interviews are not permitted nor are media interview with Level 5 inmates.”

Earlier, Hasan said, he was told not to conduct any interviews with the press — an order that was ratcheted up from the previous rule prohibiting only on-camera interviews. The Intercept continues:

“Since I am not a coward or a passive ‘nigger’ that takes unconstitutional orders from my oppressive captors, I have no intention of passively submitting to such a threat,” Hasan wrote in a message to The Intercept, sent through a monitored prison communication service. “I expect to be put in isolation sometime soon, found guilty by their kangaroo court, and then given more phone restrictions in order to excommunicate me from the media and the outside world. If so, come what may and let the wind blow wherever, for I will never capitulate to their unconstitutional demand and this new form of harassment.”

Hasan has been at the center of debates revolving around inmates' communications and access to media outlets — including as part of an ongoing lawsuit that dates back to the 1993 Lucasville riots. When the 20th anniversary rolled around in 2013, Hasan and other inmates involved with the riot were barred from talking with reporters (some of whom are also named plaintiffs in the case).

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