Progress in case of framed US unionist

March 4, 1992

Progress in case of framed US unionist

By Paul Roberts

"Congratulations on a great victory. Now let us expose the frame-up", said Tim Anderson, in a message to jailed US trade unionist Mark Curtis. Anderson was twice framed and twice exonerated for the Hilton Hotel bombing.

He wrote to Curtis in response to Judge Charles Wolle's ruling in a lawsuit bought by Curtis against the police who beat him in 1988. The judge, in Des Moines, Iowa, awarded Curtis damages for the cops' violation of his rights under the fourth and 14th amendments to the US Constitution. These protect an individual from an unreasonable use of force.

Curtis was arrested, beaten and framed on burglary and rape charges in 1988 after speaking out at a union meeting to defend 17 of his work mates at the Swift meat packing plant in Des Moines. The 17 were threatened with deportation after an Immigration and Naturalization Services raid on the factory. Curtis remains in prison today.

Curtis' lawsuit victory would not have been possible without the widespread discussion and public protest that followed the police beating of another person in Des Moines in December. These protests have forced the city authorities to hold a series of public hearings into police conduct.

The judge's ruling opens the possibility of winning new support to release Curtis. From prison he explains that the ruling "raises anew the denial of my rights when the judge refused to allow the jury to know that [prosecuting officer] Gonzalez had been suspended for lying ... It reminds us that the judge refused to let the jury even be told that I had been beaten by police officers."

For more information on the campaign to release Curtis, contact Supporters of Mark Curtis, PO Box 79, Railway Square NSW 2000 or phone (02) 281 3297.

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