CREDIT: OUR REVOLUTION / YOUTUBE
It took the efforts of serious political heavyweights and more than 100,000 petition signers, but Oscar López Rivera finally had his 70-year sentence commuted by President Obama. According to the Department of Justice, López Rivera was convicted of “seditious conspiracy” against the U.S. and has remained in prison since August 11, 1981. As UPI reported at that time, López Rivera, who has a Bronze Star for serving in Vietnam, declared himself a political prisoner. Many of the charges levied against López Rivera stemmed from his participation with Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), which fought for Puerto Rico’s independence, according to TeleSur.
Oscar López Rivera’s imprisonment has drawn criticism over the years. Last year, Congressman Luis V. Guttierez (D-IL) took the floor of the House to ask President Obama to pardon López Rivera.
Bernie Sanders also made repeated calls to the president to get the word out about López Rivera. This past May, the Washington Post noted, Rep. Sanders tweeted: “Oscar López Rivera has served 34 years in prison for his commitment to Puerto Rico’s independence. I say to President Obama: let him out.”
López Rivera will be released from prison on May 17.