September 3, 1999
Lawyers for Puerto Rican prisoners call Clinton's clemency offer unfair

                  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers for 15 jailed Puerto Rican nationalists
                  say President Bill Clinton's clemency offer is unfair because it would impose
                  too many restrictions on the FALN members once they are freed from

                  "It's conditioned upon them complying with terms that would limit their ability
                  to integrate themselves into the political process to shape the future of their
                  country, because it restricts their travel and association," one of the
                  attorneys, Jan Susler, told The Associated Press Television News (APTN).

                  Susler and lawyer Michael Deutsch said the FALN members all have
                  renounced violence -- a condition of the clemency offer -- but had problems
                  with other parts of the deal.

                  Deutsch said Friday that if FALN members accepted the offer they would
                  be barred from participating in political movements advocating independence
                  for Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States. Their travel also
                  would be severely restricted, he said.

                  The Chicago-based lawyers said the prisoners also were worried about the
                  law enforcement officials who would supervise their parole.

                  "We have the conditions being monitored by the Justice Department, the
                  parole commission and the FBI, who have come out and said we don't want
                  them on the street," Susler said.

                  Clinton has drawn a firestorm of criticism for announcing last month that he
                  would grant clemency to 16 members of the FALN -- the Spanish initials for
                  Armed Forces of National Liberation -- if they disavowed violence.

                  Bombings and other attacks carried out by the FALN in the late 1970s and
                  early 1980s killed six and wounded dozens more. Those offered clemency
                  were not responsible for deaths, officials said.

                  Republicans and some law enforcement officials have accused Clinton of
                  making the offer to endear his wife to New York's 1.3 million Puerto Ricans.
                  Hillary Rodham Clinton is exploring a run for the Senate seat being vacated
                  by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, one of several Democrats
                  to oppose clemency.

                  Susler dismissed any link to the Senate race.

                  "This has been in the works since 1993. I'm sure Mrs. Clinton had no idea
                  about becoming senator back then," she told APTN.

                  Earlier this week, the House Government Reform Committee subpoenaed all
                  records on the FALN members from the White House and Justice
                  Department. Congressional hearings are planned for later this month.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.