Letter in Support of Compassionate Release for Russell Maroon Shoatz
The International Movement to Free Russell Shoatz

To:
The Honorable Kai Scott
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas-Philadelphia
708 65th Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19126

Dear Judge Kai Scott,

We, the undersigned, write to you with a sense of urgency—to reconsider your recent denial to hospice care for Russell “Maroon” Shoatz (Russell Shoats, # AF3855), who turned 78 on August 23rd, 2021.

You ruled that Russell Shoatz presented “an undue risk of escape or danger to the community.” We believe that this ruling may have been made with outdated and mistaken information, given that Shoatz has terminal, stage-4 pancreatic cancer, is wheelchair bound and unable to walk, is urinary catheter bag dependent, and is a recent survivor of COVID-19. In this extremely weakened state, it is hard to understand how living his last moments surrounded by family in a court-ruled hospice setting would present any danger whatsoever.

As you know, Shoatz’ sentence was life in prison, but we believe any humanitarian interpretation of his situation today suggests that the current ruling indicates, in effect, a death penalty re-sentencing. Nearly half of his 49 years of incarceration were held while in solitary confinement, itself a condition which warranted reconsideration—as Nobel Peace Laureates and human rights experts across the world successfully called for. We now believe that a similar reconsideration is necessary, based on any interpretation of United States and Pennsylvania law, as well as common-sense spiritual and ethical mandates. This case showcases the appropriate conditions for compassionate release.

There is ample evidence that Russell Shoatz remains a loving father, grandfather, family man, and community elder. We pray for and respectfully request an immediate re-thinking of this important matter.


Sincerely,
Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary, American Friends Service
Committee (1947 Nobel Peace Laureate)
Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva
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