Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Ajabu saga continues

We had some interesting DT-related events happen to us last week at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Indianapolis. We tried to visit one of the subjects of one of the chapters, Kofi "Debo" Ajabu, who is currently serving an 180-year prison sentence in Indiana. But it was not to be. In July we had a piece of mail addressed to Debo at Pendleton Correctional Facility returned to us by prison censors. Then, our request for media access to Debo while we were in town for the NABJ was denied because of what prison officials called a "rule violation" on Debo's part, but they refused to give us details.
The Ajabu family have told me that the electronic monitoring system will show that Debo was playing chess in another part of the prison when the alleged "rule violation" took place, so the charge was some "trumped up crap."
I (Natalie H.) drove to Pendleton Correctional facility to try to get access as a regular visitor on Wednesday (8/16) and a prison guard looked him up on the computer then told me Debo had been transported to Westville Correctional facility on Monday, 8/14. When I asked if it was permanent, he said. "Nothing is permanent in the Department of Corrections. They do what they want, when they want."
The next day I received a second letter from prison officials saying Debo was at Wabash Valley prison. So which is it Wabash or Westville? And why the discrepency in their records? I am concerned about the lack of transparency about what decisions are being made. I plan to continue to try to get answers through the Freedom of Information Act.

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