Virgin Island 5
(2? remaining in prison)
- Abdul Azeez (Warren Ballentine) NOTE: All mail for Warren being returned as undeliverable
- Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau)
The “Virgin Island Five” were a group of activists accused of murdering eight people in the U.S. Virgin Islands during a rebellion there. From 1971 to 1973, there was a small scale rebellion against U.S. colonial rule. The disturbance was under reported so as not to interfere with the tourist industry, on which the survival of the island’s have become dependent. In 1972, eight American tourists were gunned down at the Rockefeller-owned, Fountain Valley golf course on the island of St.Croix. Quickly the colonial authorities picked up over one hundred black people for interrogation, and the U.S. colonial troops carried out a series of repressive acts of violence against the black community. The F.B.I. and the United States Army led a 300-man invasion force into the islands and used strong armed tactics to conduct house to house searches of the low income areas. The island was put under martial law, and eventually five men, Ismael Labeet (Ishmail Ali), Warren Ballentine (Abdul Aziz), Meral (Malik) Smith, Raphael (Kwesi) Joseph, and Beaumont Gereau (Hanif Shabazz Bey) were charged with the attack because someone had to be. All the men were known supporters of the Virgin Island independence movement. The five were charged after being subjected to vicious torture, in order to extract confessions. They were beaten, hung from their feet and necks from trees, subject to electric shocks with “cattle prods”, had plastic bags tied over their heads and were water boarded by the “defenders of the law.”
Reportedly, Labeet was given a pocket knife by a guard and told to run for it. Labeet knew that if he took one step he would be shot in his tracks. The guards were trying to find any justification to kill Labeet and his fellow Virgin Island Five political prisoners.
Eventually, the five went to trial in what became known as the “Fountain Valley” murder trial. This was an obvious sham trial. A judge that was initially in charge of the case, also was serving as a legal advisor for Rockefeller and the Fountain Valley Golf Course. On August 13, 1973, each of the five men were convicted and sentenced to eight (8) consecutive life terms. Of the 5, Ismail Ali was liberated to Cuba via an airplane hijacking in 1984. Raphael (Kwesi) Joseph was granted a pardon by the V.I. governor in 1992. Six years later he was mysteriously found dead of poison-laced drug overdose, after it was said that he was about to reveal evidence that would have exonerated at least one or more defendant.
Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau) (no prison number required in the Virgin Islands)
Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau)
RR 1 Box 9955
Kingshill, St Croix, Virgin Islands 00850
Abdul Azeez (Warren Ballentine)
Abdul Azeez (Warren Ballentine) #1415430
Wallens Ridge State Prison
Post Office Box 759
Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219