US accuses 4 Black nationalists of acting for Russian intelligence20 April 2023
The US Justice Department on Tuesday charged the founder and three members of a half-century-old Black nationalist group with working with Russian intelligence to influence elections in the United States.
Omali Yeshitela, the founder of the African People's Socialist Party (APSP) and the Uhuru Movement, and two other party members, Penny Joanne Hess and Jesse Nevel, were charged with acting as unregistered agents of Russia, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
All three, as well as another member named Augustus Romain, have also been charged with conspiring to act as agents for Russia, which brings up to 10 years in prison.
According to an indictment, the four people took money and other support from US-based Russian Alexandr Ionov and Moscow-based officers of Russia's FSB intelligence agency who directed Ionov.
Ionov was charged last year for running a political influence operation directed by the FSB, but his US contacts were not named, though APSP facilities were raided by the FBI at the time.
Charges against Ionov, who is believed to be back in Russia, were updated in Tuesday's indictment filed in Tampa, Florida.
Undercover as president of the Moscow-based Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, Ionov used the APSP and Uhuru movements, and Romain's Georgia-based spinoff Black Hammer, to promote Russian views on politics, the Ukraine war and other issues. Yeshitela traveled to Russia in 2015 where he entered a partnership with Ionov's group, according to the indictment.
In 2016 Ionov funded a four-city protest tour by APSP supporting a "Petition on Crime of Genocide against African People in the United States," according to the Justice Department.