Copyright © 2000. All Rights Reserved
by FFWD Staff
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the former boxer wrongly convicted of murder, will be in Calgary next month to speak at the University of Calgary. Now 62, Carter fights for prisoners who he believes are wrongly convicted, and as the director of the Toronto-based Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted, he has been instrumental in several successful DNA-based appeals.
Carters professional boxing career began in 1961, and he instantly became a crowd favourite. Five years later, while preparing for a World Champion-ship fight, he was arrested, along with his friend, John Artis, for triple murder. Although he steadfastly maintained his innocence, Carter was convicted and sentenced to three life terms, narrowly escaping the electric chair.
In 1974, Carters case attracted international attention including support from Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan after the states two key witnesses admitted they had lied at the trial. However, at a new trial, one of the witnesses again reversed his testimony after six months of freedom, Carter and Artis were sent back to prison.
Carter had almost given up when help came from an unusual source a group of Canadians who were leaders of an entrepreneurial commune. Lesra Martin, a 15-year-old who the Canadians had adopted from an impoverished neighbourhood, read Carters out-of-print autobiography, Sixteenth Round, and from that point the Canadians worked with Carters legal team to free him from prison. In a federal appeal in 1985, a judge ruled that Carters earlier trials had been "based on racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure."
Carters life is currently the subject of a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington. He will speak on Monday, March 20 at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre in Craigie Hall, and tickets are available at the Campus Ticket Centre.
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