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Members of the African People's Socialist Party respond to a 'bogus' indictment

 Omali Yeshitela
Burning Spear Media
Wikimedia Commons
Omali Yeshitela

Omali Yeshitela, Jesse Nevel and Penny Hess spoke out against charges they worked as "Illegal Agents of the Russian Government."

Three members of the African People’s Socialist Party in St. Petersburg are speaking out after the U.S. Justice Department handed down a grand jury indictment. It said that four people from that group had “sought to sow discord, spread pro-Russia Propaganda and interfere in local elections in the U.S.”

One of the four is no longer being charged, but the remaining three, who’ve dubbed themselves the Uhuru Three, said the charges are bogus. And the real issue is freedom of speech.

Lawyers for Omali Yeshitela, founder and chairman of the group, and members Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel said they are waiting for the discovery from the U.S. Department of Justice, information and evidence which the prosecution plans to present.

But Hess urged the public to “check the facts.”

“These indictments have no basis in reality, but this is how this government has attacked African people, Black people who struggled for freedom and self determination to actually have power over their lives to make sure that nobody could hurt them ever again, is what is there a problem with that,” Hess said.

Said Jesse Nevel, another group member: “We are not guilty of the absurd charges that we are Russian spies deployed by the Kremlin to disrupt the St. Pete local elections. I would like to add that I firmly and proudly stand in complete solidarity and unity with the African People's Socialist Party.”

Yeshitela said his crime is his “absolute belief in free speech.”

“If it's not afforded to us, then there can be no free speech for anybody in this setting. Everybody should understand, because the assault on free speech, the assault on basic democratic principles is one that's always made against someone or some group that is assumed to be unpopular,” Yeshitela said.

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