Kanahele: Political Prisoner

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 25 Aug 1995 07:30:30 -0600

Aloha Kakou...

As we reported in our last update (if you're new to this list, welcome),
and as you probably know if you watch the media at all, the Nation of
Hawai`i's Head of State, the Honorable Pu`uhonua Kanahele, was imprisoned
on Aug. 2 by the United States federal government. At the first detention
hearing, Aug. 4, he was denied bail, with the prosecution claiming that he
was a "danger to the community" and a "flight risk." At an appeal hearing
the following week, Aug. 9, character testimony and dozens of letters were
submitted on his behalf from well-known leaders in the community calling
for his release. Members of the community offered cash for bail, and one
kupuna offered land as bond to ensure Kanahele's return to court if
released. Several kupuna (elders) even signed affidavits that they would
take his place in prison to secure his release. In spite of these measures,
the new judge upheld the denial of bail, and Mr. Kanahele is still being
held. An appeal is now being filed with the ninth circuit court, as an
exhaustion of domestic remedies.

This case is clearly a political prosecution, and Mr. Kanahele is a
political prisoner, a prisoner of conscience. Many who may not agree with
Kanahele's politics still see blatant injustice and abuse of power by the
federal government in this situation. The National Council of the Churches
of Christ Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project has just extended
their support to Mr. Kanahele, having determined that he is a political
prisoner of conscience (http://hawaii-nation.org/nation/let_ipcp.html).

The charges (the seriousness of which would not generally warrant denial of
bail) are of allegedly hindering the arrest of a Native Hawaiian tax
protester, Nathan Brown, who was deprived of land by the federal government
in violation of an agreement, and then filed tax returns claiming that he
did not owe taxes as a sovereign Hawaiian due to America's overthrow of his
government, which was later acknowledged in Public Law 103-150. These
charges against Kanahele came over a year and a half after the alleged
incidents took place, but just two weeks after federal judges were served
papers by the Nation of Hawaii putting them on notice for ongoing human
rights violations against the Kanaka Maoli - Native Hawaiian people. The
prosecution denied that the charges are related to the notices, but then
cited them as reason for holding Mr. Kanahele without bail. Judge Kurren,
who first ruled to deny bail, had been served with the Nation's notices,
and stated that he considered it a threat. But Judge Gillmor, who upheld
Kurren's denial of bail, also denied a defense motion that Kurren should
have recused himself, saying that although the judge considered the notices
a threat, it did not bias his judgment.

Mr. Kanahele's imprisonment and unreasonable detention are considered
direct suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Kanaka Maoli people,
and continued deprivation of their right to self-determination, which the
United States explicitly acknowledged in it's 1993 apology for the illegal
overthrow of Hawaii in 1893
(http://hawaii-nation.org/nation/publawsum.html). Mr. Kanahele denies the
United States' jurisdiction in Hawaii based on historical fact and law, but
even under the American judicial system this is a blatant violation of
rights and justice. Given the international nature of the United States'
admitted crimes against the Hawaiian people and nation, however, this
political imprisonment of the head of state of the newly restored nation is
a grave violation of international principles and conventional and
customary international law.

Articles and letters to the editors in Hawai`i's newspapers covering these
events, as well as excerpts of some of the many letters submitted on Mr.
Kanahele's behalf by well-known community leaders, Native Hawaiian
organizations, and international bodies - testifying to his credibility,
commitment, and nonviolence, and calling for his release - are available


If you don't have access to the Web, the articles may also be obtained by
sending an e-mail message to:

info@hawaii-nation.org (NOT exec@hawaii-nation.org)

with the body of the message as:

info 9

You will receive an index of articles with instructions for automatic retrieval.

The Nation of Hawaii continues to call for support on behalf of Mr.
Kanahele. Mahalo to all of you who have expressed your support for our
efforts; please take the time now to voice your opinion to President
Clinton, and to your elected representatives in Congress. Every letter
makes a difference...

President William J. Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Washington, DC 20500
ph: 202/514-2000
fx: 202/514-0323
e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

With his upcoming visit to Hawaii (Aug. 30 - Sept. 3), let President
Clinton know that you are aware that his government is holding a political
prisoner, and perhaps suggest that he should publicly read the Apology,
Public Law 103-150, to which he placed his signature, to be clear with the
people of Hawaii exactly what the law says. Just an apology is not
enough... is history repeating itself?

Also write/call (sorry, no e-mail yet that we know of) to the senators and
reps to urge them to investigate and protest the situation and call for
Kanahele's release.


Daniel K. Inouye
SH-722 Hart Senate Office Building
Office Phones: 202/224-3934; TDD: 202/224-1233

Daniel K. Akaka
SH-720 Hart Senate Office building
Office Phone: 202/224-6361; FAX: 202/224-2126


1st District
Neil Abercrombie
1233 Longworth House Office Building
Office Phone: 202/225-2726

2nd District
Patsy Mink
2135 Rayburn House Office Building
Office Phone: 202/225-4906; FAX: 202/225-4987

Mr. Kanahele has invited everyone to write to him in prison, at:

Halawa Correctional Facility
1-B-1 #16
99-902 Moanalua Highway
Aiea, Hawai'i 96701
Attn: Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele
(mail is subject to being read by authorities before Mr. Kanahele receives it.)

The Nation of Hawai`i also is seeking financial support for Mr. Kanahele's
legal defense, and for the development of an ongoing social justice fund -
if you are able to contribute, please contact our office.

We encourage you to forward this message through the 'net to friends and
associates, appropriate newsgroups, e-mail lists, etc. for as wide a
distribution as possible. Also, please share it with human rights,
indigenous/native rights, social justice, peace and other related
organizations which you are a part of or in contact with, and urge their
attention to the issue.

Finally, please note the tag added to our signature below, and consider
adding it to your own signature to spread the word about this grave

The unjust imprisonment of any one person diminishes the freedom of all...

Malama Pono,

Scott Crawford
Director of Communications

| Executive Office - Nation of Hawai`i exec@hawaii-nation.org |
| P.O. Box 80, Waimanalo, Hawai`i http://hawaii-nation.org/nation/ |
| phone: 808/259-7206; fax: 259-9542 info@hawaii-nation.org |
| Pu`uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele is a Political Prisoner |
| if you agree copy these 4 lines into your own sig |
| http://hawaii-nation.org/nation/political_prisoner.html |

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