I'm down here in TX, and below are two articles I've written, in order, about Haramia KiNassor. I will be posting updates on my livejournal www.badsis.livejournal.com as I can tomorrow...
Support For KiNassor/Foster Soars As The Clock Ticks
By Walidah Imarisha
The countdown for Haramia KiNassor/Kenneth Foster, Jr is in hours now, not days. His execution date is set for tomorrow, Aug. 30, 2007. That is just the day before the state of Texas executed his close comrade, fellow organizer and friend Hasan Shakur last year.
There has been a flurry of media attention and organizing around KiNassor’s case. His support committee, which includes a friend from high school, his grandfather, his wife and his 11-year-old daughter among many others across the globe, have worked tirelessly to profile the impending execution of a man who never pulled the trigger of a gun, never even touched the gun, but simply drove a car.
When you google KiNassor (under his legal name Kenneth Foster, Jr.), you will get over 300 news stories alone, from NBC, ABC, Court TV, BET News, dailies in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Dubai, Venezuela, as well as others. Major Texas newspapers -- including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News, the Waco Tribune, the San Antonio Express News, the Austin American-Statesman, among others -- have run editorials against the execution.
The best friend of the victim in this case, Sean-Paul Kelley, has come out on his blog and supported clemency for KiNassor, stating, “… the execution of a young man who didn't even kill Mike [LaHood]? That's not justice. It's senseless vengeance, a barbarism cloaked in the black robes of justice.”
Protests have occurred in New York, Washington, DC, France and Italy, with more planned. The lights of the Coliseum in Rome will be lit tomorrow in honor of KiNassor, which usually only happens after a clemency has been granted. Here in Texas, there will be protests today in Austin, TX as well as Livingston, Texas where KiNassor is housed on The Polunsky Unit. There is also a massive protest planned for Huntsville tomorrow, outside of the prison where the actual execution will occur if it comes to that.
Supporters had their legal hopes dashed Aug. 6, 2007 when the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals denied KiNassor’s final legal appeal after the Supreme Court denied to review his original case. Left for reprieve is the Board of Pardons and Parole, which is set to respond to the appeal today, where a majority of the members have to recommend pardon, and then Governor Rick Perry can still reject it. If the Board denies a pardon, Perry has the power to grant a 30 day stay.
Last week, KiNassor’s lawyer Keith Hampton filed an appeal to the Supreme Court asking them to review the lower courts’ handling of the case. There were a number of amicus briefs submitted to support the appeal, one of them on behalf of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
At the same time, Governor Rick Perry received a letter from former United States President Jimmy Carter, asking him to intervene in this case. There have been many other legislators, celebrities and religious figures who have come out in support of KiNassor. These prominent people speaking out, combined with the thousands and thousands of everyday people who are signing the online petition (www.freekenneth.com) sending letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Governor Perry, and legislators (also at the website) is creating a deluge of indignation about this case.
KiNassor has worked to keep the focus larger than himself, though. He was convicted under the Law of Parties, which says that if you could have known or should have known that something was going to happen, you can be given the death penalty. KiNassor is set to be killed because he drove a car, and was involved in a string of robberies that injured no one before they headed home and his friend got out of the car and shot a man with no prior warning, and KiNassor should have known.
But he is really set to be executed because the victim in this case, Michael LaHood, was a white law student, and the son of a prominent San Antonio lawyer, who lobbied politicians and other lawyers and judges, got on television and said that he wanted the death penalty for everyone in the car that night that his son was killed. The man who actually did the shooting Mauriceo Brown, said that he did it alone, and that it was self defense. He was executed last year. The other two in the car rolled over and said whatever the prosecution wanted them to say. They both got life sentences. KiNassor maintained all he did was drive the car, but he refused to “cooperate” with the prosecution. He received the death penalty.
I am in the hotel room now, instead of the death row visiting cages because the administration instituted a new policy this week, ending visiting every day at noon, when it’s supposed to go un