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Photos: Coleman's website, Dept of Corrections
Bill Coleman is a Connecticut father on a hunger strike. He says he's innocent of the rape his wife accused him of three days after he filed for sole custody of their children. Coleman has been incarcerated in McDougall-Walker prison in Suffield since 2005, when a jury convicted him of sexual assault in a spousal relationship, unlawful restraint, breach of peace, second-degree threatening and sixth-degree larceny.
Coleman was convicted without any physical evidence or witnesses, only his wife's testimony. Fathers & Families' Robert Franklin, Esq. wrote about another questionable rape case, "This is the way the American judicial system works. It's aimed at putting people in prison and does so with ruthless efficiency. Most of those people committed the illegal acts they're charged with. But that same system can be equally ruthless when an innocent person finds himself on the conveyor belt that begins with a charge, runs through court and ends in prison." (Duke II?, 7/12/09)
Friends questioned the quality of his legal representation after Coleman didn't testify in his own defense. Michael Gannon, Coleman's defense attorney had his license to practice law suspended two years later, yet Coleman hasn't been allowed to have a retrial.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is assisting Coleman, a British citizen, in regard to his force-feeding. Patrick Doyle, education program manager for the ACLU-CT told the New Haven Advocate that after the first procedure Coleman was sneezing up blood and was covered in vomit. Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program wrote that "brutally force-feeding" Coleman violated his basic human rights and his right to make a political statement by refusing food.
Coleman told Fathers 4 Justice board member Donald Tenn that he doesn't need to be strapped down for hours each day. (See Abducted child's father faces prison for peaceful protest to learn more about Tenn.) Tenn says Coleman's case is an example of why Fathers 4 Justice has a "No Jail For Being A Dad" Campaign.
Coleman is one of many parents who choose this form of protest. John Murtari of akidsright.orgwas fed via Nasal-Gastric tube for 123 days after refusing to eat or drink voluntarily while incarcerated for child support arrears in NY. Murtari traveled to Illinois recently for the showing of Angelo Lobo's documentary SUPPORT? at the Peachtree Film Fest.
False accusations of rape are not uncommon, evidenced by recent news stories: Women held for blackmailing man [with false rape claim] 9/29/09, False rape accusations forces gay U.S. Soldier to out himself 9/29/09, Nanuet woman accused of making false rape report9/29/09, Rape accusation traumatizing, former suspect says 9/18/09, Woman charged with filing false rape report after road rage incident 9/10/09, Woman faces charges for false rape claim 9/4/09, as well as high profile cases like the Duke lacrosse case and the alleged gang rape that turned out to be consensual sex at Hofstra University.
Bill's brother Geoff told the Advocate, "Shame on the people who have violated [Bill's] rights, his mind and his body, shame on a justice system that fails the very people it sets out to protect." Coleman's supporters are having a rally at the prison today from 11 am to 6 pm.
After speaking with Coleman and his ACLU attorney, Tenn who is best known for protesting 4 days on a 175' crane during a thunderstorm (cnn news report) and helping UK Fathers 4 Justiceactivists climb the Lincoln Memorial to hang a banner in support of America's fathers is convinced Coleman is innocent. Tenn announced in a press release yesterday that he's currently traveling to Connecticut to meet with him. Rumors are buzzing, but whether we'll see another high profile peaceful protest for family law reform is yet to be seen.
Rally in support of Bill Coleman
October 2, 2009
11 am to 6 pm
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
1153 East Street South
Suffield, Connecticut 06080
Bill Coleman's Statement of Protest
I, Bill Coleman, in September 2007, stopped eating solid food as a form of protest. I am protesting a broken judicial system that is incapable of providing justice as well as protesting the State of Connecticut assisting in the abuse of my children. The system has failed my children and me and I have communicated this in several forums, including in court. My case in not an isolated incident; countless others have been subjected to the injustice of the judicial system. Innocent people do not belong in prison and I now just want to be left alone to protest. Force-feeding me by inserting a tube through my nose into my stomach against my will violates all medical and international law. Furthermore, I am not demanding anything from the Department of Corrections or the judicial system. I want to make very clear that my goal is not to detrimentally affect the order of the prison or Department of Corrections, and it would be disingenuous for anyone to suggest that my actions would.
I also want to make sure it is clear that my protest is not a reflection of the Connecticut Habeas Unit. They are good people doing a good job by fighting against an increasing amount of injustice in the system. The system is broken and corrupt and is also void of any moral or ethical values for the truth. This is further exacerbated because those incarcerated are not offered rehabilitation, which is no more than a token gesture, thus making society a more dangerous place on a daily basis. This is compounded by politicians and legislators putting blame on everyone and everything other than themselves, where it belongs. More laws and longer sentences are not the answer. What Connecticut citizens should know, even if they don’t care about my children and me, is that they are one‘falsely accused’ arrest themselves away from my nightmare. Make no mistake, your arrest is your conviction in the State of Connecticut.
What surrounds my conviction is filled with suspicious wrongdoing of many types. Having explored every avenue, to save my children and prove my innocence, I now believe the system is not an option for the truth to come out and I choose to fight to the maximum with my life. I do not want to die, but I am willing to die. Force feeding only prolongs death as my organs, after a period of time, will eventually give out. This means the DOC will have to force feed me until my death. Instead of letting me continue my protest the State is wasting valuable resources to temporarily prolong my life for only an undetermined short period of time. These resources should be spent on a better cause such as an investigation of the corrupt judicial system which would help not only me, but also others who have been wronged.
Finally, I forgive those who have wronged me and I ask forgiveness especially to those I have troubled. My family, friends and supporters vowed to never stop until my children are saved and what surrounded my case and conviction is exposed. For this, and more, I give them my eternal love and gratitude and to the Lord “I commend my spirit.”
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