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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Congressional Letter to President Obama Calls for Release of Oscar López Rivera

May 26, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. The four Puerto Rican Democratic Members of Congress released a letter they wrote to President Obama asking for a meeting to discuss the “immediate release” of Oscar López Rivera, a federal prisoner for 35 years who is considered the last Puerto Rican political prisoner held by the United States.  The letter, sent on February 24, 2016, makes the case for Mr. López Rivera’s release and appeals to the President’s sense of justice, saying:

Mr. President, you have articulated a wise, healthy policy in support of giving people serving disproportionate sentences a second chance, recognizing that the constitutional power of pardon is the correct remedy. You have to date responsibly commuted many disproportionate sentences of drug offenders and others – and we have seen that public reaction has been favorable, and indeed critical only of the fact that you have not issued more such commutations.

As we see it, there is no legitimate penological objective being served by the ongoing imprisonment of this 73 year old Puerto Rican, when his people and others who value human rights clamor for his release.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico all signed the letter, but so far, have not been granted a meeting with the President to discuss the matter.  

The letter is part of a broad, diverse, and sustained call for Mr. López Rivera’s release coming from all sectors across Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora and allies.  All four Democratic Puerto Ricans in Congress have been engaged in an extensive, quiet campaign over the past several years to build support for Mr. López Rivera’s release. 

The full text of the letter is here: 

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