With Donald Trump soon heading to the White House, people across the world are concerned that political prisoner Oscar López Rivera won’t be freed under the Republican’s four-to-eight year administration. To safeguard, thousands are calling on President Barack Obama to use his final days in office to free the Puerto Rican revolutionary.
López Rivera, 73, has been behind bars for 35 years. He is among the longest-held political prisoners in U.S. history.
His crime: seditious conspiracy, which Cornell Law explains as “two or more persons” conspiring “to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States.”
López Rivera, who isn’t guilty of killing or harming anyone, has only sought the independence of Puerto Rico.
“Mr. President, throughout your presidential term, the people of Puerto Rico have united behind one common cause; the freedom of Oscar López Rivera,” Swedish politicians told Obama in a letter. “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.”
The people of Puerto Rico agree. Celebrities like Ricky Martin, Calle 13's Residente and Ana Ortiz, among many others, have called for his release, and incoming Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló has asked the president that López Rivera be pardoned.
“Due to Mr. López’s age, health condition, and desire to return home, we believe he should be pardoned for the crimes he committed. Oscar López has already spent 35 years in federal prison for nonviolent offenses,” Rosselló wrote Obama in a letter. “Although the charges against him are very serious, so are our compassion and mercy.”
A petition on the White House website has exceeded the 100 thousand signatures needed to receive a response, and a "Flood the White House" call-in and social media drive is scheduled for Friday.