44 years after conviction, Freedom Rider Sala Udin is pardoned

44 years after conviction, Freedom Rider Sala Udin is pardoned

President Obama’s decision this week to issue 78 Christmas season pardons — the most of his presidency — should have special meaning for veterans of the civil rights movement.

Among the recipients was former Pittsburgh City Council member Sala Udin, a onetime Freedom Rider who was beaten up registering voters in 1960s Mississippi. But Udin had been haunted for decades by a criminal charge that grew out of his youthful activism: Driving fellow protesters home from the South, he was stopped for speeding in Kentucky and arrested after police found an unloaded shotgun and a jug of moonshine in the car.
“I’m ecstatic,” Udin emailed Yahoo News shortly after he got the call from his lawyer that his long-languishing bid for a pardon had finally been granted by Obama. After waiting patiently for years, Udin had all but given up hope. Only days earlier, amid reports that Obama was contemplating a final round of pardons, Udin had told a friend: “I refuse to allow myself to be optimistic because I don’t want to risk the disappointment. It’s not going to happen.”

Udin, 73, was the subject of a Yahoo News story last year that highlighted Obama’s relatively stingy record of using his constitutional powers to pardon criminal offenders; one critic even called him a pardon “Grinch.” At that point, Obama had issued fewer pardons than any president since James Garfield. (This is separate from Obama’s commutation of sentences, another of his broad clemency powers and one that he has used liberally to reduce the lengthy prison terms of nonviolent drug offenders — a key part of his administration’s initiative for criminal justice reform. Obama separately commuted the sentences of 153 such offenders Monday.)

READ MORE- https://www.yahoo.com/news/forty-four-years-after-conviction-freedom-rider-sala-udin-is-pardoned-by-obama-160944680.html

EDITORS NOTE: I didn't even know there was a such thing as pardoning felons who are no longer in prison. The story was so confusing for awhile, and the headline made it seem like he was in prison for 44 years.


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