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Saturday, May 25, 2024

House Republicans Demand Access to D.C. Gulag Records, Plan Visit to See J6 Prisoners

'No group of people have ever had their constitutional rights so blatantly violated as the nonviolent J6 prisoners being held pretrial in the DC jail... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) In the wake of a harrowing visit with J6 political prisoners and explosive new videos exposing gross distortions about patriot protesters, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is leading a contingent of House Republicans demanding in-person oversight tours of the D.C. Department of Corrections, along with interviews of J6 prisoners and gulag employees.

Greene visited the D.C. jail in December 2021 and was appalled by the conditions she found, prompting “concerns that DC DOC is violating detainees’ constitutional and human rights,” informed a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser from Greene and House Committee on Oversight and Accountability chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky.

“Eyewitness accounts of conditions at the DC Jail Facilities—particularly regarding the treatment of January 6 detainees—paint a picture of despair, hopelessness, and a severe abuse of justice.”

According to Greene, “One inmate reported being beaten by other detainees and not being provided care. One detainee has written that he had had to use the same contact lenses for at least six months. Another showed evidence of having a fractured bone that was left untreated. Another reported being served food with chemicals or other substances in it.”

The list of reported abuses that Greene had confirmed included J6 prisoners “not being provided haircuts and being forced to live with clogged toilets,” while another detainee was refused options to accommodate his food allergies, leaving him facing “the choice between not eating or place himself in severe pain from the food provided by the DC Jail Facilities.”

J6 prisoners also told Greene that “they had been denied access to a Bible or denied access to Communion based on their vaccination status.”

The GOP lawmakers’s letter also referenced a Washington Post article that reported water for some J6 detainees “had been shut off for days” as punishment, creating an “overpowering” stench from “standing human sewage” in the toilets of many cells. “Hot meals” were “served cold and congealed”; some inmates had “observable injuries” for which no documentation was available; and “evidence of drug use was pervasive,” including the “widespread” odor of marijuana. 

Greene’s accounts of J6 prison abuses were amplified by a U.S. District Court judge, who in 2021 found that the D.C. gulag’s director and its warden had “violated a detainee’s civil rights.

“I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abused,” the judge wrote. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6th defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6th defendants…in this and maybe other cases.”

The U.S. Marshals Service subsequently conducted an unannounced inspection of the D.C. gulag, interviewing more than 300 detainees and finding “egregious” conditions. The Marshals’s review was cut short when “DC DOC employees ordered the marshals to leave the DC Jail Facilities,” according to the lawmakers’s letter.

“One marshal said he ‘ha[d] never seen a jail bar marshals from entering.’ The Acting U.S. Marshal summarized the preliminary review as finding ‘evidence of systemic mistreatment of detainees’ and forwarded the results to the DOJ Civil Rights Division.”

The DOJ said they would transfer gulag detainees, but none of the J6 prisoners were part of the group removed.

The House Oversight Committee “is concerned by reports that January 6 detainees are facing a unique form of mistreatment due to their politics and beliefs, representing potential several human rights abuses,” the lawmakers wrote. “No prisoner in the United States should be treated in this fashion.”

The committee’s letter to D.C. Mayor Bowser requested that she “make arrangements” for committee members “to allow full access to the DC Jail Facilities (including the ability to speak with detainees) to Members of Congress and staff no later than March 23, 2023.”

The committee also requested: 

  • All documents and communications regarding January 6 detainees’ waiver of speedy trial
  • All documents and communications regarding January 6 detainees’ complaints regarding their cell conditions, sanitary conditions, access to food, access to legal counsel, access to materials relevant to their legal defense, and access to religious material and/or rites
  • All documents and communications regarding the DC Jail Facilities’ COVID-19 policies since January 7, 2021
  • All documents and communications regarding the U.S. Marshals Service’s inspection in October 2021, including but not limited to the November 2021 agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service

“No group of people have ever had their constitutional rights so blatantly violated as the nonviolent J6 prisoners being held pretrial in the DC jail,” Greene said, vowing that House Republicans “will be investigating the abuse and denial of basic human rights and bring accountability where it is due.”

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