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Manuel meets his five-month-old grandson for the first time on a rare contact visit on death row in Angola prison.

How you can help

Manuel’s case is still proceeding through the courts. He is fortunate to have post-conviction lawyers who are good at what they do and have a deep understanding of the complexities of Manuel’s case. Yet he faces the same hurdle that other innocent people face on death row: the courts care far more about procedure than innocence. There’s no way to tell how the judge will rule in his case.

Making contact

What is very clear is that over two decadesĀ on death row have had their inevitable toll. While those of us who visit Manuel are amazed by his dignity and generosity of spirit, at times it is hard for him to maintain hope as the world passes him by. While he has been in prison for a crime he did not commit, his son has grown into a young man with a family, his first grandchild has been born, and the community from which he has been barred has moved on. What Manuel needs most – apart from his release – are voices of support.

You can show your support by writing to Manuel. Letters and cards are always welcome. They help him feel he is not forgotten.

You may enclose a photo or a newspaper clipping with your letter, but please do not enclose anything else. Any other items, even things such as stamps, will be confiscated.

What should you say?

Tell him you’ve heard of his case. Tell him about your own interests and family; ask him about his. Or simply write and say, “Hello, I’m thinking of you and hoping for your release.”

People in prison, and on death row in particular, live in extreme isolation. A caring letter can make a real difference in their day.