As regular readers of Act Locally, Think Globally will be aware, Satpal Ram, was wrongfully convicted of murder 12 years ago when he attempted to defend himself against a group of racist thugs who glassed him the face and arm in what was a totally unprovoked attack. In January, supporters of Satpal were asked to back his parole application but in February Satpal received notification from the Parole Board that they had decided to withold his parole assessment until December 1999 despite the fact that he has already served 2 years longer than the prison term recommended by the Appeal Court.

This month, members of the Newcastle branch of the Free Satpal Ram campaign group visited Satpal to find out how his plight can be further highlighted. Satpal asked that supporters continue to send letters in to the Home Secretary and the Parole Board asking for him to be granted parole. A copy letter is enclosed and the addresses are shown below for those readers who want to help:

Mr Jack Straw


 Mrs Usha Prasher

Home Secretary


 Parole Board

The Home Office


 Abell House

50 Queen Anne’s Gate


John Islip Street







Satpal’s support group is currently working with several bands and is hoping to launch a number of records as well as hold a music festival to expose the brutal and inhumane treatment that he has had to endure during the past 12 years. With luck, local supporters may be able to help out with these events. We’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, those readers wanting to write to Satpal can contact him at the following address:

Satpal Ram, E94-164
Frankland Prison

Thanks for all your help.

Copy and paste into your word processor................................................................Snip


Ref No:



Prison No:


E94 164

Prison Address:         HMP Frankland Prison, Brasside, Durham, DH1 5YD

I am writing to you to object to your recent decision to withold the parole assessment of
Mr Satpal Ram (No E94 164) until December 1999.

I understand that the decision was based on Mr Ram’s behaviour reports whilst in custody. There are a number of important mitigating factors which account for Mr Ram’s conduct which I have set out in detail in the attached report. In particular, I should emphasise that the prison system regime has actually caused many problems for Mr Ram and his family thereby causing unnecessary tensions between Mr Ram and the authorities. The prison system has also severely restricted the opportunities open to Mr Ram to display positive relationships with the prison staff as well as attend courses and develop skills. As a result the prison regime has significantly contributed to a false negative image of Mr Ram. I would also point out that Mr Ram has already served the full term of imprisonment recommended by the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Lane who oversaw his appeal application.

In the light of the above-mentioned facts I urge you to consider granting a parole assessment opportunity for Mr Ram as soon as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours sincerely


Mr Ram’s incarceration arose as a result of an incident in which Mr Ram attempted to defend himself from a vicious, racist and totally unprovoked attack. During the incident, Mr Ram had glasses hurled at him by six thugs; he was verbally abused; physically attacked and was finally glassed in the face and on the arm. His main attacker died after he refused treatment for two stab wounds inflicted by Mr Ram in fear for his life. During the course of his trial, Judge Ognall, appeared to accept Mr Ram’s defence of provocation when he commented to the jury that “It is a matter for you but you may think that in those circumstances for you to reach a different conclusion (from provocation) would be fanciful to a degree.” After his conviction for murder, the trial judge expressed surprise at the verdict and accepted that Mr Ram had been attacked.

At Mr Ram’s unsuccessful appeal, the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Lane made a recommendation that Mr Ram should serve 10 years in prison. Mr Ram was convicted in June 1987 and the tariff date set by the appeal judge for his sentence expired in November 1996. Mr Ram is now in his 12th year of incarceration. Given that the trial judge was apparently sympathetic towards Mr Ram and that he has served the sentence recommended by the appeal judge, I urge you to accept that Mr Ram should not be further punished for his apparently uncooperative behaviour.

Since his conviction, Mr Ram, whilst accepting responsibility for the killing, has consistently declared his innocence of the charge of murder. Mr Ram believes that he was wrongly advised and poorly represented by his barrister at trial. Mr Ram firmly believes that if the circumstances of the incident had been examined by the jury from the point of view of a defence of self-defence, then the jury would have reached a ‘not guilty’ verdict. In fact, Mr Ram has unsuccessfully attempted to pursue a complaint against his barrister and appeal against his conviction on the grounds of his barrister’s failings (as well as other matters).

Mr Ram’s belief in his innocence has prompted him to spurn the prison regime. As a result, Mr Ram has received rough treatment at the hands of the Prison Service. During the past 4 years, Mr Ram has been subjected to the continuous assessment scheme which has often entailed a prison move after a 28 day period of behaviour assessment. During his incarceration, he has been moved 54 times. He has spent much of that time in segregation and has also had the number of visits allowed him severely restricted.

Mr Ram’s harsh treatment has discouraged him from cooperating with the authorities with the result that Mr Ram has been subjected to further punishment regimes. This, in turn, has severely limited the opportunities to Mr Ram to take up courses, work, voluntary work and develop positive relationships with staff whilst in prison. The prison system has, thereby, restricted the openings available to Mr Ram to show his full potential in these areas of skill. The large number of prison moves has also prevented Mr Ram from taking up any jobs or voluntary activities.

Professor Sashidharan (Director of North Birmingham Mental Health Trust and a professor at Birmingham University) who prepared a report to the Parole Board on behalf of Mr Ram, as part of Mr Ram’s application for parole, stated that, in his opinion, Mr Ram is emotionally stable and mentally healthy. In fact, he considers that Mr Ram presents no issues of concern emotionally or intellectually. He is a non-violent person and his release on parole licence will not imperil the safety of society at large.

In conclusion: given the circumstances which resulted in Mr Ram’s incarceration; the trial judge’s reservations about Mr Ram’s conviction; the fact that he has served his tariff; and the difficulties Mr Ram has experienced as a result of his incarceration, I urge you to accept that Mr Ram’s apparently uncooperative behaviour has, in part, been caused by the prison regime to which he has been subjected. I would also ask you to accept that Mr Ram has been more than adequately punished for the offence of which he was convicted and as such deserves an opportunity to be assessed for parole. In addition, I would appeal to you to accept Professor Sashidharan’s findings that he does not pose a danger to the community.

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