Angola prison (Wikimedia)

Nearing death, Angola 3 prisoner fights for freedom

Herman Wallace, dying of terminal cancer and likely innocent, has served 40 years mainly in solitary

Natasha Lennard
September 25, 2013 9:40PM (UTC)

Former Black Panther Herman Wallace -- the 71-year-old member the Angola Three who has been held in the Louisiana penitentiary for 40 years -- is in his final battle for freedom facing terminal cancer with only weeks to live.

Wallace, along with two others, was implicated in the murder of a prison guard in 1972, although forensic evidence has since strongly suggested their innocence.


Only one of the Angola 3 charged with the murder has been freed. Robert King was released after 29 years in solitary confinement when his conviction was overturned in 2001. Meanwhile a federal judge has twice ordered the release of incarcerated Albert Woodfox, who nonetheless remains held in solitary confinement under Louisiana's authority. Wallace was ordered to remain in jail -- effectively until his death -- by a federal magistrate judge last week.

The Angola 3 and their supporters have consistently maintained their innocence in the guard's murder and argue that their convictions and isolation are punishment for their political organizing.

The Guardian reported:

His attorneys now have until 30 September to give their response to a federal district judge. George Kendall, Wallace's lawyer, told the Guardian that he remains optimistic: "We are hopeful that this meritorious habeus petition will be reviewed without delay by a federal judge," he said.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Albert Woodfox Angola Angola 3 Black Panthers Cancer Herman Wallace Louisiana Robert King Solitary Confinement


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