Amnesty International investigated the case of the Omaha Two, Edward Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, former David Rice, in the late 1970’s. Mondo and Poindexter were Black Panther leaders in the National Committee to Combat Fascism and had been convicted in April 1971 for the bombing murder of an Omaha policeman. The two men had been targets of both the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division and rival Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Omaha Two were victims of COINTELPRO counterintelligence measures but much of the story was still hidden in classified files.
A German investigator, Claus Walischewski, was assigned the case. Walischewski and his team studied the case for two years before concluding Mondo and Ed Poindeter were political prisoners: “The cooperation with the FBI, the FBI’s own activities, the promise of leniency to Peak, even evidence—all these were kept secret at the trial. The key witnesses disappears after the trial. There is only one conclusion to these peculiarities: Rice and Poindexter were readily implicated with a murder because they were the most prominent political activists in Omaha and had to be silenced.”
“They became victim of a frame-up by the police and the FBI and of the racial and political biases in court. Mr. Kingman Brewster, President of Yale University, stated in 1970 that he was “skeptical of the ability of black revolutionaries to achieve a fair trial anywhere in the United States,” wrote Walischewski.
The Amnesty International work group stated their opinion: “David Rice and Ed Poindexter are political prisoners. They were sentenced for a crime they didn’t commit because of their radical political beliefs….The murder of patrolman Minard appeared to be a welcome pretext to incriminate the two activists and strike a blow against the NCCF from which it couldn’t recover. The legal system was misused and they were unjustly convicted.”
Forty-five years later, Claus Walischewski still believes in Mondo’s innocence. Walischewski commented on Mondo’s recent death at the Nebraska State Penitentiary: “I just want to express my shock and disbelief when I learned of Mondo’s death….I had heard that Mondo’s health problems had worsened but I had no idea how serious they were, that’s why the news of his death took me by surprise.”
“I deeply deplore the fact that he had to spend most of his life in prison for a crime I believe he didn’t commit. He was born the same year as I and that makes it the more horrendous to me: so many years confined in prison, such injustice, no chance of living a normal life – how could he endure all this? Amnesty International took on his case in 1977 and only one year later I joined AI and started working on this case. In the 1990s I went to Nebraska and Minnesota and had a chance to meet Mondo and Ed in prison and thus developed a more personal commitment to their case. Numerous letters I wrote on their behalf – to no avail,” complained Walischewski.
“It makes me sad to know how harshly the US legal and political system deals with supposed enemies and is rarely willing to make up for injustices and manipulations that victims of racism have suffered. Another precious life spent! Can we hope that one day Mondo will be rehabilitated and cleared of the crime? That is still important, not only for Ed Poindexter, but also for Mondo’s relatives and friends and for all US citizens and people around the world like me who want justice to prevail.”