Hugo Pinell

A tribute to Hugo Pinell, one of the longest-serving solitary confinement prisoners in the US, assassinated in prison


Hugo Pinell, friend and comrade of Black Panther Georges Jackson, was murdered on the 12th of August 2015 at California State Prison, Sacramento, a maximum-security prison adjacent to the notorious Folsom State Prison. Hugo Pinell was imprisoned for 51 years of which 45 years in solitary confinement in San Quentin, Folsom and Corcoran, and the last 24 years in the infamous Pelican Bay SHU (Security Housing Unit from 1990 – 2014).

Pinell was the sole member of the San Quentin Six still in prison.


sq6 at the time of their trial

  Photo : The San Quentin Six at the time of their trial in 1976
A tribute from the remaining San Quentin 6

“Hugo Pinell was assassinated at new Folsom State Prison. This is another example of the racism people of color inside those prisons are confronted with on a daily basis. Like Comrade George, Hugo has been in the cross hairs of the system for years. His assassination exemplify how racists working in conjunction with prison authorities commit murderous acts like this. We saw it on the yard at Soledad in 1970 and we see it again on the yard at Folsom in 2015.
His life was a living hell. We witness the brutality inflicted on him by prison guards as they made every effort to break him. He endured more than fifty years of sensory deprivation, for decades he was denied being able to touch his family or another human being, as well as attempts on his life. This is cruel and unusual punishment!
Hugo is not the monster that is being portrayed in social media / news media. The CDC is the real monster.
During the six trial we really got to know Hugo. He was as we all were under a lot of stress. His stress was heavier than mine because he had the additional load of being beaten on regular occasions. We saw the strength of his of his spirit, and through it all he managed to smile.
We mourn the loss of our comrade brother, yogi.
We have been hit with a crushing blow that will take some time to recover from. We must expose those who under the cover of law orchestrated and allowed this murderous act to take place.
The prisoners who did it acted as agents of the state. It comes at a time when prisoners are collectively trying to end decades of internal strife.
Those who took his life have done a disservice to our movement. Their actions served the cause of the same oppressor we fought against!
No longer do you have to endure the hatred of people who didn’t even know you and never dared to love you.
You have represented George & Che well, and we salute you!”

David General Giap Johnson
Luis Bato Talamantez
Willie Sundiata Tate


Rally for Hugo Pinell in 2013

Slaying casts pall on plan to reduce solitary confinement
August 14, 2015 By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press




Prison activist and editor. Currently preparing a book on the introduction of maximum security prisons in Belgium and Europe, including the practice of solitary confinement. In 2008, Luk started the Belgian Prisoners' Family & Friends Association. ( In 2009, with Farida Aarrass he launched the Campaign Free Ali Aarrass ( ). In 2012 he organised the Committee of the Families of European detainees in Morocco ( Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011). Contributions : « Etats généraux sur les conditions carcérales en Europe : La condition pénitentiaire, regards belges, français et européens"» (2010, éditions MGER) ; « The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe »(2010, Race & Class) ; « Gevangenissen: spiegel van onze samenleving » (2013, MO Mondiaal Nieuws) Publishing house :

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