On Thursday, September 28, the Uhuru 3 will appear in court in Tampa as their lawyers present oral arguments for their “Motion to Dismiss” to Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli. Judge Porcelli will hear from both sides and will then make recommendations to the U.S. District Judge on how to rule on the Motion.
Observers warn that the future of the First Amendment and the right to engage in peaceful activism and free speech activities hang in the balance with the case of the Uhuru 3, the primary target being African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
African People’s Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess and Uhuru Solidarity Movement Chair Jesse Nevel, two white organizers for reparations under the leadership of the APSP, were also charged in the widely-denounced DOJ indictment that came nine months after the July 29, 2022, violent multi-city FBI raids on seven Uhuru Movement homes and offices.
The Uhuru 3, along with First Amendment and social justice advocates from throughout the U.S., ridicule as baseless the government’s accusation that 50+ years of work by Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru Movement to win reparations for Black people and to oppose U.S. unjust wars was carried out at the behest of the Russian government.
Supporters from around the Bay Area, Florida and beyond – including representatives from Students for a Democratic Society, the Party for Liberation and Socialism, Socialist Workers Party and the Hernando Green Party – will converge on the Tampa Middle District Federal Courthouse to stand with the Uhuru 3.
The Uhuru 3 and their attorneys will speak with the press on the steps of the courthouse when the session is concluded. They will also appear at a public program later that evening at 6 p.m. ET at the Uhuru House at 1245 18th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg, FL, to mobilize community members to “get on the bus” to attend the November 4th Black People’s March on the White House demanding “Drop the Charges against the Uhuru 3!” and opposing expanding political repression in the U.S.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 813-906-9274.
From the Motion to Dismiss
The Motion to Dismiss, filed in July 2023 by Uhuru 3 attorney Leonard Goodman, asserts, “This case is about pure political speech and the right to advocate dissenting views. The Overt Acts charged in the indictment all relate to political speech and peaceable assembly. Every one of these charged offenses are protected political speech under the First Amendment.”
It documents evidence of Yeshitela’s decades-long consistent work advocating for reparations, opposing U.S. and NATO military aggression and accusing the U.S. government of committing genocide against the Black population – all done exerting the agency of the African activist and not at the direction of the Russian government. It cites extensive supporting case law, especially relating to protection of the First Amendment.
As the Motion to Dismiss argues, “The government here is using a federal criminal statute to prosecute members of an activist group for political speech and activism in opposition to U.S. foreign policy. In so doing, this prosecution strikes at the heart of the First Amendment.
“This is the first case in which the government has used the statute that criminalizes unregistered foreign agents (18 USC §951) to target political or dissenting speech. In short, if this case is allowed to go forward, it will reverse more than eight decades of Supreme Court precedent that prohibits the government from targeting dissenting political speech and dissent.”
What people are saying: (see full endorsers list at https://handsoffuhuru.org/endorsements/)
“In clear violation of the First Amendment, the Department of Justice is prosecuting US citizens for domestic speech and political activities because they do not align with the policies of the US government.” – National Lawyers Guild
“It is clear that the charges against the Uhuru 3 are politically motivated in that they are being applied selectively. The United States’ charges against the Uhuru 3 set a dangerous precedent threatening the First Amendment rights of all people.” – U.S. Peace Council
“How dare you, the United States … say that we don’t have enough intelligence and history to organize around reparations and colonial capitalism, to organize around genocide; we need Russia to come in and do that for us?!” – NYC Councilman Charles Barron
“It’s part of the war against black freedom movements… I think it’s very important to do what one can and all that one can to defend the rights and liberties of our brothers and sisters at the African People’s Socialist Party.” – Dr. Cornel West
“We must demand that the FBI cease invoking the Foreign Agents Registration Act to spy on and criminalize Black social justice leaders.” – Collin P. Poirot and Azadeh Shahshahani, The Nation
“This is an absolutely remarkable – and chilling – indictment.” – Glenn Greenwald, System Update
“This fake and racist case flows from the Russiagate hysteria that convinced millions of Americans that Russia was paying dissident groups to destabilize the US political system.” – Max Blumenthal, The Greyzone
“It is alarming. I would hope that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU and others who we depend on at fraught moments like this, would leap to the defense of these defendants.” – Dr. Gerald Horne
“The latest group of Americans to find their constitutionally protected opinions become felonies are, believe it or not, an organization of black nationalist left wingers who oppose the war in Ukraine…. That man is facing 10 years behind bars for expressing views about Ukraine that the Biden administration doesn’t want to hear. That’s terrifying.” – Tucker Carlson