“I walked through the gates of hell into freedom”

After 45 years of imprisonment for a crime he did not commit, Albert Woodfox, speaks to the Guardian about how it felt in February when he was finally released and how he see the USA of 2016. Sentenced to decades of solitary confinement: 23 hours a day locked into an 9ft by 6ft (2.7 metres by 1.8 metres) cell, barred at one end, in a tier of “14, 15, 16” similar cells. There was some communication possible with neighbours, even if he could not see them, or with other inmates on their way to the showers. Woodfox says in Cruel and Unusual, a feature documentary about the Angola Three that will be shown on Channel 4 later this year. “We could die in prison if that’s what it took. Once you break that spirit, you can’t get it back.”

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Albert Woodfox and his fellow surviving member of the Angola Three, Robert King, will visit the UK and France next month, kicking off on 1 November with the launch of Amnesty UK’s Write for Rights campaign. You can read more about Albert Woodfox and the Angola 3 on a special website which was set up to campaign for their release.

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