Hunger for Death Row: Lucasville Five prisoners on hunger strike seeking death row status
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Hasan ODRC MugSkates ODRCJason Robb ODRC
(Left to right, top: Siddique Abdullah Hasan, George Skatzes, Jason Robb;
bottom: Bomani Shakur, Namir Mateen)

Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Carlos Sanders), Bomani Shakur (Keith Lamar), Jason Robb and Namir Mateen (James Were), four of the “Lucasville Five,” went on hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary Youngstown on January 3 – the objective being to gain the same living conditions as other prisoners on Ohio’s death row.
Audio from Death Row: Siddique Abdullah Hasan on hunger strike (January 9, 2011) PART 1

       Audio from Death Row: Siddique Abdullah Hasan on hunger strike (January 9, 2011) PART 2

These four men, along with George Skatzes (confined apart from the rest at Ohio
s Mansfield Correctional Institution), were each sentenced to death for their roles in the 1993 Lucasville prison riot one of the longest and most violent in the nations history since which they have each been held in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day every day for the past 18 years

The state of Ohio says the men were calculating, cold leaders of convict
death squads, responsible for the deaths of numerous prisoners and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) officer Robert Vallandingham.

Members of the
Five”– and numerous witnesses say the men acted as peacekeepers who negotiated a resolution to the ten-day standoff and suppressed further violence at the hands of more hardline prisoner factions.

Nevertheless, Hasan, Robb, Lamar and Were (who is diabetic) have set aside their assertions of innocence for the purpose of the ongoing strike (though they have by no means abandoned their ongoing legal appeals) and are demanding only that they be allowed contact with family, access to legal resources, that they be allowed access to the media, and other basic items
such as cold weather clothing afforded to other death row prisoners.

“It doesn’t matter where they place us, so long as we have our death row status,” said Hasan on January 9– six days into the strike.

“It seems that no matter what we do, they are determined to keep us locked down in punitive segregation– being vindictive for no apparent reason, except for the fact that they are upset about what happened at Lucasville.”

ODRC spokesman Brain Niceswanger says it is not likely the department will capitulate.

Full story release date: January 14, 2011