Amnesty International: Jena 6 Case Smacks of Racism

Amnesty International has officially asked the US Department of Justice to review the prosecution of the Jena 6.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'All white juries trying black defendants after racist violence and counter-violence were things we hoped were now part of the past in the United States.

'However, this case in Louisiana appears to be a disturbing throwback. It is vital that the State Department takes seriously the need for an urgent review of the case.'

The 'Jena Six' students were charged following a fight last December in which Justin Barker, a white student, was allegedly assaulted. Justin Barker reportedly received treatment at a hospital for his injuries and was discharged the same day.

Though no one in their right mind condones the behavior of the boys, throwing away the lives of these children for this kind of schoolyard fracas is unethical and wrong. Here's AI's request...

In a letter to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department on 7 September, Amnesty International has acknowledged the seriousness of the alleged incident but calls for urgent review of claims by civil rights advocates that charges sought in the cases were disproportionate to the offence and reflected a wider problem in the locality of unequal treatment based on race.

Amnesty International also raised concern about allegations that Mychal Bell did not receive a fair trial and called for any injustice in the case to be promptly remedied.

Better late than never.