Let me introduce you to another one living in Cuba, or the case of Ishmael Muslim Ali:
The story began on Sept. 6, 1972, in St. Croix, in the United States Virgin Islands, when five masked individuals killed eight people at the Fountain Valley Golf Course. The murders rocked the small island and summoned a wave of law enforcement authorities from the United States to conduct the investigation.The club, owned by the Rockefeller family, was frequented by the wealthy.Soon after the murders, Mr. Ali, at the time known as Ronald Labeet, and four others were arrested and charged with the crime.The trial drew some of the most prominent liberal legal figures of the time, including William Kunstler, who defended the activists known as the Chicago Seven, as well as William Estridge, a lawyer for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.The trial was over in less than a year, and eventually all of the men were convicted and given eight consecutive life sentences, plus 90 years, for the crimes.They were shipped to prisons in the continental United States, where three of them remain today. One of the men, Raphael Joseph, died in 1998, after being pardoned.Mr. Ali, who was considered the leader of the group, and the others convicted maintained their innocence, arguing that their original trial was unfair.The film raises allegations that the suspects were tortured while in custody and that the judge presiding over the trial was biased because he had represented members of the Rockefeller family in his private practice.After being convicted, Mr. Ali spit on the floor, and he and his accomplices struck out at the marshals who took them into custody, according to news accounts at the time.
Following his conviction, Mr. Ali fought to be returned to St. Croix.After more than a decade in prison, he was sent back to the island, though only for proceedings in a civil suit he had filed, asserting that his rights had been violated when he was placed in solitary confinement for 90 days.He was awarded $12,000 in damages and placed aboard an American Airlines passenger plane bound for New York on New Year’s Eve in 1984.Mr. Ali went to the bathroom repeatedly during the flight, complaining of stomach pains. On his final visit, he emerged with a handgun. (He did not say how he got it.)He then commandeered the plane and forced it to land in Havana. Upon landing, he was taken into custody.The Cuban authorities convicted Mr. Ali of hijacking the plane, and sentenced him to 10 years in jail. He served seven years and got an early release for good behavior.Afterward, on the petition of Ms. Shakur, Mr. Ali says he was granted asylum, the beginning of an entirely new chapter for him.
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