Two current prisoner hunger strikes in Georgia and California

Two hunger strikes by prisoners demanding fundamental and condition changes have shown up in our newsfeed. Both articles are pasted below.

The first, in Southern California, is being done to demand better treatment of transgendered (specifically transwomen) prisoners who are being placed in single-cell status specifically for having a gender identity that prison officials don’t recognize.

The second, in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country of Georgia, not the US state), is being done to improve medical service, and to enforce mechanisms to release or postpone the imprisonment of prisoners for reasons of health.

Articles are below, after the jump…

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Amazon, an anti-civilization trans insurgent associated with the Gender Anarky collective within the CA prison system, and her comrade Catarina LaPre are on the 8th day of hunger strike against the unfair treatment of trans women within R.J Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County.  Prison officials refuse to take Amazon and Cat off of single-cell status because of their gender identity.  A letter from Amazon states:

“this is an emergency letter about the situation with trans girls here… I’m trying to get off single-cell status here and cell up with cat.  my case worker was supposed to start the process two months ago but she’s a feminist and hating on us and don’t wanna do it.  so we went on hunger strike to force the issue.  we have been on a hunger strike since 9-21, didn’t eat dinner that day and have not eaten since.  this is day [eight at this point*]… they have been trying to get us to eat but we won’t.  today cat started started feeling fucked up and vomiting water…

so we need some direct action support in this, for the prison to double-cell me, and get on the phone to the warden here, warden paramo… regarding why they are discriminating against transwomen here… Gender Anarky and militia goes to the oppressor in confrontation and leaves a hard mark.  so show these motherfuckers who are the bitches with the most.”

Read more on how to support Amazon HERE.

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A third hunger strike launched in Georgia

According to Georgia’s public defender, yet another hunger strike has been launched, this time at Prison No 19, for prisoners suffering of tuberculosis.

About 30 prisoners in the prison went on hunger strike on September 25. Their demand is to improve medical service, and to enforce mechanisms to release or postpone the imprisonment of prisoners for reasons of health.

This is the third prisoner hunger strike in recent days.

According to the ombudsman, five prisoners continue their protest right now, while part of prisoners refuse to receive medication as a sign of solidarity with the others.

Care for prisoners with tuberculosis was one of the major problems prisoners told journalists when they were let into Gldani prison, also known as Prison Number 8, to see how the prisoners were doing.

When journalists entered Gldani prison last week, it was the first time since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2004 that journalists have been allowed some degree of unhindered access to the infamous Georgian prison system. Until the abuse scandal broke on September 19, all journalists, including foreign ones, have been denied access, except for a few tightly controlled media tours.

Journalists say the injured are being treated with medicines without effect. Despite a number of promises, those who are ill have not been transferred to the tuberculosis zone.

The prison ministry today reported that the tuberculosis center in Ksani now will start functioning. According to the ministry, this is part of the new reform of the prison system, which includes getting the tuberculosis problem under control. Georgian prisons have been plagued by outbreaks of the illness which have claimed many lives in recent years.

President Saakashvili last week said the prison reforms have completely failed and that a new reform would be started.

There are five floors in the new building for 750 patients. It will soon start functioning for prisoners.

Newly appointed Prison Minister Giorgi Tughushi, who in his previous position as public defender criticized the prison system, promised to fundamentally change this system and conduct immediate reforms.

Khatuna Kalmakhelidze resigned as prison minister last week, after scandalous videos leaked by a former prison guard documented torture of prisoners. Many Georgian journalists have worked hard in recent years to expose the torture, but were always brusquely rejected by Kahlakhelidze, who refused to answer their questions. During her time as minister, she never held a press conference, refused to discuss specific cases and repeatedly denied that torture was taking place in prisons under her responsibility.

Western countries worked in partnership with Mrs Kalmakhelidze in the now failed reforms, a partnership which the minister often used domestically to assuage her critics and as proof that the process was working.

The Saakashvili regime has called on Interpol for help to arrest the whistleblower who brought prison torture to the public’s attention. He is currently in Belgium, where he has applied for political asylum because he fears that what he exposed will be avenged and that his life is in danger

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