Dubai: Amnesty International (AI) has urged Louisiana authorities to end immediately the isolation of two inmates who have ben incarcerated since 1972 in the biggest prison in the US.

The group has been campaigning to deliver a petition carrying the signatures of 65,000 people from 125 countries to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal last week urging him to end the isolation of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace.

However, AI posted on its Twitter account of "Angola 3 news" that the "Governor Jindal refuses to meet with Amnesty Intl delegation. Petitions given to Secretary".

Angola is the name of the prison in which both Woodfox, 65, and Wallace, 79, were already serving a term for armed robbery in the early seventies. But in 1972, they were convicted of murdering a prison guard — a charge they consistently denied.

Instead, they said they were targeted because they helped establish a prison chapter of the Black Panthers, an African-American revolutionary leftist organisation that was active in the US in late sixties and seventies, and was described by the FBI as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country".

The two men were convicted and placed in solitary confinement, where, apart from a short spell in 2008 in a high security dormitory, they have remained ever since.

"Legal aspects of the case against Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace are deeply troubling," said Fabian Goa from Amnesty International in the US.

"No physical evidence linking the men to the guard's murder has ever been found; potentially exculpatory DNA evidence has been lost; and the convictions were based on questionable inmate testimony," he added in a statement to Gulf News.


"Over the years, documents have emerged suggesting that the main eyewitness was bribed by prison officials into giving statements against the men and that the state withheld evidence about the perjured testimony of another inmate witness. A further witness later retracted his testimony," he said.

While Gulf News unsuccessfully tried to contact the governor, other press reports noted that neither the Department of Corrections — the US prison service — nor the state attorney general's office were available to speak about the case of Angola 3.

  • Louisiana State Penitentiary.
  • Known as Angola, the Alcatraz of the South, or The Farm.
  • The largest maximum security prison in the US, with 5,000 prisoners.
  • Bordered on three sides by the Mississippi river.
  • It covers a larger area than Manhattan: 73 square km to Manhattan's 59 square km.

— Source: BBC