Senior Correspondent

WASHINGTON ( – With legal charges still pending in Georgia courts against the state prison system, and within days of the national publication of a front page feature in The Final Call calling for an end to his persecution, inmate Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been transferred into federal custody, Georgia corrections officials admitted Aug. 2.

Imam Al-Amin is now being held in the maximum high-security, underground federal penitentiary in Colorado, known as “Super Max” where infamous federal inmates including the so-called “Una-bomber,” is held, and where organized crime boss John Gotti was held.

“…While people were outraged about Abu Ghraib, and rightfully should have been outraged about it, there’s a problem here in this country where these elite institutions, carry out outrageous acts,” Ed Brown, the brother of Imam Al-Amin, told The Final Call. The conditions under which the former civil rights leader known as H. Rap Brown are now held inside the continental U.S., are just as unacceptable as the infamous Iraqi prison where inmates were tortured and humiliated.


Imam Al-Amin may have figuratively gone from the prison “frying pan, into the fire,” so to speak, his supporters insist. “The Super-Max place in Colorado, that’s the Guantanamo Bay on the mainland,” Karimah Al-Amin, wife of the Imam told The Final Call. “So, I don’t expect for him to be able to attend Jumu’ah, and that’s one of the challenges we’ve been waging, and naturally, he will not be in the general population and that was the another challenge we were waging. So, I do not see this as an improvement.”

In March 2002, Imam Al-Amin was convicted of murdering a Fulton County, Georgia. Sheriff’s Deputy and wounding another in an incident March 16, 2000. Mr. Al-Amin steadfastly maintains his innocence. His supporters insist that he was convicted because he’s a Muslim and because of his militant past, his former association with the Black Panther Party, not based on the evidence.

The imam was transferred to federal custody after state officials decided his high profile status presented “unique issues” that the prison system could no longer handle, said spokeswoman Yolanda Thompson according to published reports.

“No specific incident served as a trigger,” said Ms. Thompson. “We assess our inmate population daily, and we assess the needs of our inmates. This is an ongoing case, involving the best interest of our overall population. And he’s a very high-profile inmate.”

“By the feds moving him all the way out to Colorado to the Super-Max, underground, he will absolutely no access to his attorneys,” said Mrs. Al-Amin. “In addition to it being a burden on family, it will also be on his attorneys. He has legal actions pending now. So, we’re very, very concerned.

A number of legal challenges have been mounted by Imam Al-Amin’s legal team, challenging not only his unjust incarceration, but the conditions under which he is imprisoned. “He is still in 24-hour lock-down,” said Mr. Brown. “That has been a major source of our concern.

“He has also been faced with a series of bogus charges claiming that he had threatened someone there in the institution, which of course he has not. It’s the kind of thing that can lead to an incident in which they take provocative action, and they will have laid the ground-work by basically coming up with all these bogus charges.

Another issue is, he can’t receive and does not receive his mail from his attorneys or anyone else, including his wife, without prison authorities–in violation of their own policy–interfering with the mail, and opening it in his absence. “If they are fearful of contraband, they are allowed to open it in his presence, but that has not been the case,” said Mr. Brown.

“And there has been the issue in terms of both basic health and sanitation in terms of feeding, which has been a major concern of ours. They pass the food through the same slot they pass the mops for clean-up,” he complained.

“They carry out outrageous acts. They have on occasion brought in female corrections officers to do strip searches. That’s just uncalled for, but they’ve done it nonetheless.”

A state prison spokesman said Imam Al-Amin was under lock-down because of his security risk level, which is based on an inmate’s criminal history and behavior in prison, and denied that Al-Amin would be subjected to strip searches in front of female guards. His family and supporters insist Imam Al Amin has been a model inmate.

Muslims inside the Georgia state prison at Reidsville, where he had been held before the transfer, even petitioned authorities to permit Imam Al-Amin to lead them during Jumu’ah (Friday congregational) prayers.

“Georgia dropped him like a hot potato, and the feds, they have not historically treated him fairly, so I really don’t expect any fair treatment,” now said Mrs. Al-Amin.