November 2004

Dear friends,

On August 6 I was transferred from the U.S. penitentiary at Atlanta to a pre-release center in Portland, Maine.  On November 4th I was released from the federal bureau of prisons custody.  After 20 years confinement I've finally come home.

I am deeply grateful to all of you who've supported me during this excruciating ordeal. Some of you have been around since the first day of my capture in 1984. Others became involved during court trials attempting to criminalize actions taken in support of struggles from Central America to Southern Africa. Some, of you came through during the lockdown years at Marion and ADX - prisons continually violating the spirit and law of human rights. Others joined in during the quest for parole. Be it cards, letters, phone calls, books, literature, funds, political events, providing various kinds of support - each of you contributed in some way to my survival enabling me to reach the dawn of a new life.

My release after 20 years imprisonment for political offenses demonstrates that political prisoners can be brought home. Do not forget those left behind. Mumia is still on death row. The MOVE prisoners have endured over 25 years of unjust imprisonment. Mutulu Shakur, Oscar Lopez, Marilyn Buck and many others are weighed down by inordinately long sentences.  A new generation of political prisoners needs support - from younger activists like Jeff "Free" Luers to immigrants detained in the extended post 911 repression.

I make special mention of my codefendants - Torn Manning, Richard Williams and Jaan Lamaan. Of 8 of us charged with United Freedom Front actions, they are the only 3 remaining in prison. That's "freedom", as in what these comrades fought for on behalf of others. They deserve respect and support. All our political prisoners need to be brought home.

One does not pass through 2 decades in America's maximum security cells without feeling its effects. The voices still reverberate from those I knew that died in prison. The sun is shining but shadows around me bear decades of physical and emotional pain. I remember hunger strikes and beatings; the sickening sounds of violence and the creeping silence of box car cells. I know the medical neglect suffered by some of our prisoners. I remember a world apart within which the spirit of political prisoners remains unbroken, and the circle of life survives the house of the dead. America's political prisoners are among the most principled people it's ever been my honor to know.

I was never a victim. I am a survivor of wars fought for and against U.S. imperialism. I believe that our political prisoners stand on the side of history that will vindicate our actions to alleviate the suffering of those most used and abused by a system that prioritizes profit over human needs. However, I am an anti-imperialist whose military role has ended.

I am now home with my wife Jamila and close to my family, including daughters, grandchildren and mother. From my heart I thank you all, for what you gave helped in some way to make this return home possible.

Love and Respect,

Ray Luc Levasseur