• Press Release

Amnesty International USA: Woodfox Must Be Released Immediately

June 12, 2015

The human rights organization called today's Fifth Circuit ruling the result of a "desperate attempt to thwart justice" by the Attorney General.

Contact: Gabe Cahn, [email protected], 202.412.1678

WASHINGTON-Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana announced that they would continue a stay of a U.S. District Judge's decision to release Albert Woodfox. The Court's decision effectively blocks the release of the Louisiana prisoner, pending a ruling on whether or not Albert Woodfox will be tried a third time. This decision follows U.S. District Judge James J. Brady's ruling on Tuesday, which granted unconditional release to the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox. In response, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

"Given that the overturning of Albert Woodfox's conviction on three separate occasions was not enough, Judge Brady's decision to grant him unconditional release should have certainly ended this 43-year-long nightmare. Instead, he remains behind bars, fighting to prove his innocence as a result of the Louisiana Attorney General's desperate attempt to thwart justice.

"At this point, the Louisiana authorities must ensure Albert Woodfox's freedom-not only from incarceration, but from the deeply flawed legal process that has consumed him for more than four decades."

Since 2013 alone, Amnesty International USA has generated more than 100,000 actions on Woodfox's behalf, including the delivery of a petition to Governor Jindal with more than 50,000 signatures calling for Albert Woodfox's release. Over the course of the last five years, Amnesty's global movement has generated more than 500,000 actions on behalf of the Angola 3. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez U.N. decried the indefinite solitary confinement imposed on Woodfox, saying that it "clearly amounts to torture and it should be lifted immediately."

On June 11, in the wake of Judge Brady's ruling, 18 members of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted for a resolution (H.R. 208) urging Attorney General Caldwell to stop standing in the way of justice, withdraw his appeals, and let Judge Brady's unconditional writ and release ruling stand.

Follow Steven W. Hawkins on Twitter: twitter.com/StevenWHawkins


Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.