By Sharon Danann
in: Workers World
Published Sep 17, 2011
Abdul-Muhaymin Nuruddin, a prisoner convicted as James Bell, died this past week of an apparent heart attack while in custody. His body has yet to be released so that his funeral can take place, in disregard of Muslim custom of burial within 24 hours.
Nuruddin was a negotiator on behalf of the prisoners during the 1993 rebellion in Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. He was held in high esteem by his fellow prisoners for his work in SOCF’s law library, where he prepared appeals, writs of habeas corpus and civil law suits.
Nuruddin was convicted of felonious assault following the Lucasville rebellion. The prosecution maintained he was the “right hand man” of Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, another prisoner negotiator. Hasan received the death penalty for his alleged role in the uprising.
Nuruddin’s longtime pen pal, Karen Thimmes, states: “Before he came back to Ohio [in 2007], Nuruddin was housed in federal institutions, first in the SuperMax in Florence [Colo.], later at a federal medical facility due to his kidney problems. When the Feds suggested to Ohio DRC [Department of Rehabilitation and Correction] that they would do a kidney transplant on Nuruddin if Ohio would foot the bill, Ohio pulled him out of the federal system and brought him back to Ohio, allegedly claiming that lifetime dialysis was cheaper than a transplant.” (prisonersolidarity Yahoo group)
Twice in the past four years, Nuruddin contracted serious MRSA [methicillin-resistant staphyloccus aureus] infections at his dialysis port which he believed were the result of inadequate attention to hygenic procedures, according to Thimmes. She maintains he was also forced to choose between dialysis and Muslim prayers on Fridays. In 2008, the ODRC forcibly cut Nuruddin’s beard in violation of his religious rights.
While at ODRC’s Pickaway Correctional Institution, guards threatened Nuruddin’s life. They also failed to intervene when his neck was cut near his jugular vein by another prisoner. They locked up a prisoner who came to his defense. ODRC refused to take action on the complaints he filed about these and other incidents.
Brother Nuruddin will be remembered for his courageous participation in prisoner advocacy campaigns, including the ongoing struggle to overturn other wrongful convictions of Lucasville-uprising prisoners, five of whom received death sentences. Another of his lasting contributions was an Islamic newsletter called “Pristine Truths,” which he published in the 1990s.
As the deaths and numerous disabling injuries of the then New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller-led massacre of prisoners in Attica Correctional Facility 40 years ago are memorialized, the lives saved by the prisoners in Lucasville who negotiated a settlement with ODRC should also be honored. Recalling that N.Y. Gov. Hugh Carey ordered all indictments from the Attica rebellion vacated, the struggle will continue until the Lucasville-uprising convictions are reversed and Nuruddin’s former fellow inmates walk free.
Comments in memory of Nuruddin may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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