Sekou Cinque T.M. Kambui is a New Afrikan political prisoner currently serving two consecutive life sentences for crimes he did not commit. Sekou has already spent twenty years of his life behind bars on trumped up charges of murdering two white men in Alabama in 1975.
Sekou is of Afrikan / Cherokee heritage, born on September 6, 1948 in Gadsden, AL. He was raised by his mother, grandparents and aunt in Detroit, Harlem, New York, and Birmingham, AL, respectively. Throughout the 1960’s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Sekou became affiliated with the Black Panther Party in 1967 in Chicago and New York. While in Detroit, he became a member of the Republic of New Afrika, before returning to Birmingham. Back in Alabama, Sekou coordinated community organizaton activity with the Alabama Black Liberation Front, the Inmates for Action (IFA) Defense Committee and the Afro-American People’s Party in the mid 1970’s. Sekou was also a soldier in the Black Liberation Army (BLA) during these years before his capture.
On January 2, 1975, Sekou was captured in north Birmingham for allegedly running a yield sign and / or speeding. During this stop, a 9mm pistol was found in the car lying between the front seats. Subsequent investigation by police on the scene discovered that the pistol was listed as stolen during a Tuscaloosa, AL murder. A wide-ranging investigation followed, which included inquiries into his personal relationship with a white woman. At one point during the investigation, while being transported, Sekou was told by one of the investigators, “…we don’t really give a damn whether you committed these crimes or not, but you should have because we’re gonna hang your ass with them anyway…” Sekou was falsely arrested and charged with the murder of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multi-millionaire oil man from Birmingham. The trial was racially charged from the beginning with a black civil rights leader being accused of killing two white men in the state of Alabama.
Despite immense pre-trial publicity, the court denied a motion for a change of venue. An appeals court later affirmed this decision, citing examples of ineffectiveness of the counselor. In fact, the nature of this case was so intense that during a 1985 investigation of the crime, persons in Tuscaloosa vividly recalled details of the murder, the accused (Sekou) and the entire issue of the killing. Major witnesses in both cases admitted during this same investigation that they had been forced to testify against Sekou and had been repeatedly visited by certain members of the Birmingham Police Department, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department. Defense witnesses in the first trial were so terrified after continuous threats and racial intimidation by the Birmingham Police for providing alibi testimony that they fled Alabama, leaving Sekou without a defense for his second trial. To this day Sekou has never been placed at or near either murder scene, no murder weapon was found, nor any direct evidence offered to connect Sekou to the murders. The pistol which he was captured with has never been conclusively linked to the crimes.
Sekou’s legal challenges to both convictions have been continuously threatened by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) through the seizure of legal material and mail, repeated retaliatory transfers and threats to interfere with pending parole dates.
Life in Prison
For more then twenty years Sekou was held captive in Alabama. He is well known to nearly every Warden, Regional Coordinator and higher level officials in the ADOC. As a jailhouse lawyer, his legal reputation preceded him at every institution. In fact, many prisoners owe their freedom to Sekou’s legal efforts on their behalf. He has won numerous other civil actions regarding medical malpractice, abusive treatment, abusive segregation, abusive prison conditions; all of which have earned him nothing but retaliatory transfers and continuing unabated enmity by officials of the ADOC. It is absolutely impossible to relate the depth of hostility encountered by Sekou personally, and by his family from not only the ADOC but also from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Every attempt made to appeal his original conviction has been stymied by missing trial transcripts, illegal confiscation of lawbooks and legal research/trial preparation material, etc.
In a decade, Sekou has been up for parole five times, and has been denied each time and set off. Prior to every parole consideration there has been a punitive transfer and an escalation of harassment due to a legal action taken by Sekou on behalf of other prisoners.
Sekou was released to a halfway house on June 30th, 2014!