Prison Wedding

Like the lotus blossom arising from the darkness of the swamp, Atif Rafay and Loretta Fisher tied the bonds of matrimony on January 14th, 2017 at Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, Washington. This wedding came against all odds, not the least of which is the flourishing of love inside an environment that destroys this most precious of all human experiences.

The ceremony was officiated by Amy Darling, a Buddhist minister, who managed to create, in one small section of the visiting room, a sacred space wherein the couple’s love transcended the bonds of prison. Their commitment to each other, their obvious love, transcended the bonds of incarceration. The irony is that the relationship between Atif Rafay and Loretta Fisher has greater intimacy and less distraction than most couples on the outside.

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About ken

I am a former Toronto teacher and writer now living in Vancouver. I work with Dr. Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, with whom I published Eye of the Hurricane: My path from Darkness to Freedom (Chicago review Press, 2011), as Director of Media Relations and as an advocate for wrongly convicted prisoners. Other publication credits include Songs of Aging Children (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992) a book of short stories about troubled youth, and Taking Steam, a play co-authored with the late Brian Shein, staged at New York's Jewish Repertory Theatre and Toronto in 1983. Life Without (Quattro Books, 2012) is a novella about a New York cab driver wrongly convicted of killing his pregnant wife. Gary Geddes (Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence) described it as "one of the most brilliant and harrowing short novels I've read since I went on a John Hawkes binge."

8 thoughts on “Prison Wedding

  1. Congratulations to Atif and bride! There are many of us citizens that still fully believe in your innocence and hope to help the battle if only in our small ways like comments on the internet and small articles. It is just great to see you find some profound happiness! Namaste.

  2. I am sorry but these guys are so guilty it’s not funny, you don’t leave a country a few days after a murder and vanish . You stay and sort it out with the police . You help the police in their investigation . These guys should spend the rest of there lives in jail . Wow

    • Hi Damien,
      Your comment here is short on reason. They spent a week trying to “sort it out” with the Bellevue Police, sitting in a motel room without a lawyer and voluntarily submitting to tests of every which kind. They were not being held or under arrest. They did try to help the police, thinking their innocence would protect them. That’s a naive and foolish notion. They left because they had no place to live outside of that shabby motel and Burns’s father urged him to get home and stop talking to police without legal representation. That was the first piece of sound advice that they got.

      • Ken, I’m wondering if you could confirm they indeed stayed in Bellevue for a week. The Rafays were buried within days of the murder, and the pair had already left for Vancouver.

        • Actually, you’re right. It wasn’t for a full week. More like 4 days, I think. They left right around the day of the funeral, if I have it right, a funeral that Atif was unaware of.

          • I believe they left on day 4. They were free to go out as they pleased, and spent time at Borders Bookstore, for one.
            As reported by the Fifth Estate, Atif was urged to call his family several times (their telephone contacts were at the house). I’m sure you are aware that he never did. Also, Mr Rafay’s brother says he left several unreturned messages at the motel, while the boys were staying there.

            I do believe facts are really important here when painting the scenario immediately after the murders. When making a case for the boys being “cooped up”, three days is not a week. Being free to go to video stores and bookstores and restaurants is not being cooped up. That Atif avoided contacting his relatives and not returning messages is at odds with not being (deliberately) informed about a funeral.
            It may seem inconsequential to you, but I don’t think it’s a fair assessment of the actions and attitudes of the police at that time.
            Can you speak to any of these points ?

          • “Facts”. “Atif was urged to call his family several times…” What does several mean? What was Atif’s state of mind at the time? How cool and stable would you be under the same circumstances? What kind of relationship did he have with extended family? (very shallow) “Cooped up” may imply imprisoned but I meant it as living in a shabby place with no alternative. And Atif was unaware of the funeral. But let’s agree that all of this is subject to interpretation.

            The single most important fact, in my estimation, is that they submitted to tests and questioning without legal representation. I think it must have been appalling–it would be to me–to suddenly discover that you are the main suspect in your own family’s murder. It is unquestionable from reading police documents that they were indeed suspects, the main suspects, very soon after the 911 call. Only briefly, were they accorded the status of innocent until proven guilty. The RCMP and the Bellevue police ignored more likely suspects and lied about having interviewed at least one of them. So my view of the police is that they were infected with tunnel vision.

  3. This whole case is very confusing, there were many lies from police. Theres so much conflicting information. Nevertheless everyone deserves this happiness of matrimony, its been 23 years since the murders, i think they have suffered enough.

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