The Philadelphia Inquirer ( READ FULL ARTICLE ) announced today that the three remaining MOVE 9 women (Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa) were denied parole by the PA Parole Board. The Inquirer quotes parole board spokesperson Leo Dunn as saying that parole had been denied on the grounds that the three MOVE prisoners had “minimized or denied the ‘nature and circumstances’ of the offense, ‘refused to accept responsibility’ and lacked remorse. He said the fourth reason for the rejections was the ‘negative recommendation’ by the prosecutor.”
The parole board used several of the stipulations that MOVE spokesperson Ramona Africa had predicted that they would try and use to deny parole, including that they "refused to accept responsibility" and lacked remorse.... The unfairness and arguable illegality of this is so obvious, because how can you expect someone to "admit guilt" when they've always said they are innocent? Where does remorse come from if someone is actually innocent?
The “nature and circumstances” stipulation is a blatant re-sentence, since the serious nature of the charges were considered by the judge at the time when he ruled that MOVE should be eligible for parole after 30 years. How can this fairly be used to deny parole?
A further outrage is that the women never even faced weapons charges, unlike the male MOVE 9 prisoners. Because of this, it had been thought by many observers that the women would have a better chance of receiving parole.
Therefore, if this is any indication, it does not look good for the MOVE 9 men, for whom the parole decision is still pending. If supporters want to make a difference and hold the parole board accountable for these blatantly unconstitutional parole stipulations, we must increase public pressure.
This blatantly unfair decision can only serve to validate the argument that the MOVE 9 are indeed “political prisoners”.