A group of lawmakers and cultural personalities from Sweden have asked outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama to release Puerto Rican liberation fighter Oscar López Rivera, who has spent years in solitary confinement and is one of the United States' longest-held political prisoners.
In Friday’s joint letter from the Swedish Parliament, Obama was asked “to do what is right, to make the decision to release Oscar López Rivera.”
A leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement, López Rivera is currently serving his 35th year in prison on charges related to his independence activities with the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FARN), which fought to turn Puerto Rico into an independent communist state. He is the longest-held political prisoner from Latin America in U.S. history.
“Mr. President, throughout your presidential term, the people of Puerto Rico have united behind one common cause; the freedom of Oscar López Rivera. As your administration is winding down you and only you have the opportunity to allow Oscar López Rivera to live out the final part of his life in his homeland with his family.”
“He was convicted and imprisoned because he struggled for his homeland Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination,” read the statement from nine politicians. Signatories included Sweden’s former Justice and Defense Minister Thage G. Peterson and members of the Left Party and Green Party.
A number of other personalities, including actors, gave their support to López Rivera.