The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.60/No.12           March 25, 1996 
Curtis Wins Support At Youth Congress  

PARIS - Framed-up trade unionist and socialist Mark Curtis won new support at youth conferences here for his efforts to be released on parole and to protest attempts by prison officials to censor him. Upon invitation by the Movement of Communist Youth of France (MJCF), I attended their national conference representing the Mark Curtis Defense Committee. The meeting was held February 9-March 3 and drew over 800 participants, including 100 international delegates from 43 countries. On March 4 representatives of youth groups from around the world held a meeting to discuss building an international festival of students and youth.

Hundreds of delegates received a copy of a February 27 letter from the Mark Curtis Defense Committee alerting supporters to the rejection of Curtis's request to be paroled to Illinois by officials of that state and the censorship by Ft. Madison, Iowa, prison authorities of three articles written by Curtis for the Militant newspaper.

Seventeen participants purchased copies of the Pathfinder pamphlet Why is Mark Curtis Still in Prison in English, French, and Spanish, along with two copies of the Mark Curtis Defense Committee pamphlet The Stakes in the Campaign to Free Mark Curtis.

A number of people who have followed Curtis's case and knew about the decision in November of the Iowa Parole Board to release him on parole were outraged to learn that state officials are stalling on his release and censoring Curtis's mail.

Rajaji Mathew Thomas, general secretary of the All India Youth Federation, said he first learned about the case of Mark Curtis at a meeting of the World Federation of Democratic Youth in 1991 in Cyprus. He planned to write a protest letter as soon as he returned to India and pass the information on to others. "In India, people are told that it [the United States] is the haven of democracy," he said. "This case is useful for our political work in India."

Many others from around the world heard about the frame-up case for the first time and agreed to send protest letters. Upon getting details of the events leading up to Curtis's arrest on false charges of sexual assault and burglary, Saheb Dahbia of the Movement of Democratic Women of Algeria, said she identified with Curtis's efforts to defend immigrant workers. "We must all unite, being from the rich or the poor countries, the north or the south in order to have democracy and freedom of expression," she stated.

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