US prison warden’s talk cancelled after threats

A TALK by a leading figure from the US prison network to Scottish business leaders has been cancelled after heated protests were made to event organisers.
Burl Cain, warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary – nicknamed “Angola” – was due to address the Winning Entrepreneurs business network in Edinburgh tomorrow night at Prestonfield House Hotel.
However, the event has been cancelled after a series

of “aggressive” calls were made to Winning Entrepreneurs, while a flurry of protest e-mails were also sent to the organisers.

After consulting with police, the organisers decided to call off the event. The protest centred on treatment of the “Angola 3” prisoners under Cain’s stewardship of the jail, which has attracted controversy and become a campaign focus for a number of rights groups.

The Angola 3 are three black prisoners linked to the murder of a white prison guard in 1972 and kept in solitary confinement for, in two of the cases, 36 years. While Robert Hillary King has now been released after his first conviction was overturned and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox remain in the jail.

Winning Entrepreneurs founder Belinda Roberts said: “We’re very disappointed that this event has had to be cancelled – especially as Warden Cain was speaking about leadership, not the US penal system. However, we have to put the safety of the warden, our members and the hotel staff ahead of any other concerns.”

Her team has received phone calls from people speaking in English accents, “which they felt were aggressive in tone and which felt to them like veiled threats over this event. While some may have just been registering their displeasure at the idea of the warden speaking, we don’t want to take any risks.”

Members of Winning Entrepreneurs include IT and property magnate Shaf Rasul, Scotland’s richest Asian entrepreneur and star of the online version of Dragon’s Den, Mark McElney, chief executive and founder of No 1 Currency, Scotland’s fastest growing company, and PJ Darling of Spark Energy.


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