Release Puerto Rican Political Prisoner: Oscar Lopez-Rivera (60971-CA-NonDis)
Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah who said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives” (Luke 4:18 NRSV).
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church and The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico have advocated for the liberation of Puerto Rican women and men sentenced to excessive punishment due to alleged crimes related to their struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico (2012 Book of Resolutions #5087); and
WHEREAS, since 1996 The United Methodist Church has approved resolutions requesting the liberation of the Puerto Rican political prisoners, (1996 Book of Resolutions, pp. 533-534); and The United Methodist Church has advocated for the release of Mr. Oscar López-Rivera, taking into consideration the ample support for his release stated by several religious bodies, political leaders from different nations, and persons of all political parties in Puerto Rico;
WHEREAS, Mr. Oscar López-Rivera “is said to be among the longest-held political prisoners” (Report prepared by the Reporter of the United Nations Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, March 20, 2015) and is the last remaining Puerto Rican political prisoner in a federal prison of the group of political prisoners incarcerated between 1980 and 1983 in related cases. The majority of the group was released by President William J. Clinton in 1999; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations Special Committee has established several resolutions on the situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People calling “upon the President of the United States of America to release, on humanitarian grounds, Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López-Rivera”; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Oscar López-Rivera, was not accused of killing, or causing personal harm to anyone, or stealing anything, and still languishes in prison for 35 of his 73 years of age, having being found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to his belief and struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, seeking to be faithful to Jesus’ mission, continues to advocate for political prisoners who should be released from their captivity; and
Be it also resolved, that the 2016 General Conference, on religious, moral and humanitarian grounds, approves this resolution requesting the immediate release of Mr. Oscar López-Rivera from federal prison; and
Be it further resolved, that this 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, through the President of the Council of Bishops and the Secretary of the General Conference, will send a communication to the President of the United States and to the Attorney General requesting the immediate release of Mr. Oscar López-Rivera that includes copy of this resolution.