For Kini Seawright, and all the other women who bury a loved one due to police or prison violence...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Freeing Avi Naftel...

Avi was a friend of mine before I knew he had also been a prisoner. He was committed as Arnold Naftel, #45287, to the AZ DOC  at the age of 28 for disarming and kidnapping a state trooper…which isn’t quite what it sounds like. He was trained as an Israeli soldier as well as a Navy Seal – of course he disarmed her when she drew on him and demanded his papers.
Avi survived over 26 years of violence, abuse, and gross medical neglect in Arizona's state prisons. He spent much of his time in the hole, but he was also a hell of a jailhouse lawyer. And he left a corrupt, brutal guard with a limp for years (warning - this is the man I learned self-defense from).  There were questions about how Avi died - the cops now say there was no foul play, at least. I think Avi made amends with the people he loved as best he could, and went out the way he wanted to - living freely. I hope I am so lucky when it‘s my time...

----------my original post to Prison Abolitionist   from 7/15/12-------

A couple of friends and I journeyed to the Kibbutz Elfrida today in search of our beloved Avi Naftel , who had fallen out of touch with everyone for several weeks. We discovered when we arrived that his body had been found near his camp by the Cochise County Sheriff's office at the end of June after a neighbor reported him missing.

The sergeant we spoke to in Elfrida at the Sheriff's department substation suggested that his death was being looked at as a possible homicide for several reasons he shouldn't have disclosed to us. In any case, despite that and the news reports  of his "suspicious" death  at the time, I think the man died on his own terms out there. Here's an excerpt from Avi to another friend (from the Kibbutz Elfrida Facebook page) that kind of sums up why I think this...

“I'm very sick and painful and won't be able to get there for BCR4 as I'm broke. However I bought that land in S AZ so that I can die in peace there. The doctors told me not to lose hope but get my affairs in order. At this time I'm not sad at all, I'm very finding serenity and not afraid at all. In fact I may welcome death as I'm tired of being sick and though I have loving friends and would love to continue traveling around, its getting too difficult for me. My guitar is my gift for you since its such a sweet sound, it is a blessing for me to do this."

Visit Avi's Spacebook  page for updates and to leave good thoughts for his family. I'll post more here later, once I'm really ready to let this good soul go.

Blessings to you as you continue your journey, Avi: so glad you lived and died a free man. 

Thanks for letting me spend a bit of time with you along the way - it was a  great ride.

Avi and Cookie, Phoenix   

 Cookie biker, in doggles

Cookie was specially trained and provided by the VA Hospital to alert Avi when his blood sugar levels endangered him...
She is such a lovely soul, as well, and has been adopted out to a good family.