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The Library houses more than books! Some of the most crucial members are you. We need activists and people who want to change our neighborhood for the better

Justice is overdue for Mumia

Siddique Abdullah Hasan is one of the Lucasville Five, a group of men railroaded onto death row in Ohio after a 1993 prison rebellion in which inmates at the Lucasville prison rose up against the abuses and arbitrary rules of prison guards and officials. Here, he looks at the recent court ruling rejecting Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal for a new trial.

IN LIGHT of the adverse ruling by a three-judge panel for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in denying Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial and an evidentiary hearing, many of his supporters are outraged and weighing the pros and cons of what must be done to create the circumstances for his speedy release from captivity.

At a press conference outside the Federal Court building in Philadelphia, Sister Pam Africa of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal hit the nail on the head when she so forcefully said, "The power of the people has to be unleashed, because what the court did was wrong!"

Being an activist and a revolutionary thinker, I'm totally convinced that what she was conveying to the people--actually to the world--is that the gloves must come off and the people must be turned loose to fight fire with fire via the principle of "by any means necessary."

While there are many ways to unleash the power of the people, I think one way it should be unleashed is by calling for an international economic boycott against Hershey's and other major businesses in the state of Pennsylvania. In order to make this boycott successful, the help of the European Union and other countries interested in the quality of justice should be sought.

When other countries or governments are guilty of civil, constitutional and human rights violations against their citizens, the United States government either selectively speaks out against these types of violations or selectively imposes economic sanctions against the perpetrators. As the leader of the "free world," when the United States does this, it sends a clear and powerful message to the world that the United States will not sit idle and allow these violations to go unchecked.

It's time for the world to stand up to the state of Pennsylvania--that is, to Gov. Ed Rendell, to Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, to the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police and to the appellate courts--and say with a unified voice: "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal now! We want justice for him, and we won't sit idle and allow you to execute this innocent man!"

Such a stand and economic boycott will serve as a supplement to the work Mumia's lawyers and supporters are vigorously engaged in to save his life.

In a capitalistic society that prides itself on its superpower status, economic power and military might are the only languages this imperialistic government seems to respect and understand. Therefore, the heat must be turned up if we are ever going to acquire justice for Mumia. Justice demands that he be granted a new trial, or at least an evidentiary hearing to gather and present enough evidence to prove he did not murder Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981.

The appellate courts have never heard the newly discovered evidence of his actual innocence. They have always found some flimsy excuse to repress it. In a case of actual innocence, the courts are under obligation to hear newly discovered evidence--but such has never happened in Mumia's case. In the absence of hearing it, the state's theory that Mumia murdered Officer Faulkner seems very convincing to someone who doesn't know the particulars of his case or the circumstances surrounding why the government framed Mumia and wants him dead.

Be that as it may, justice in Mumia's case is long, long overdue. How long? Too long! It's been 26 years, and it's now time for the world to become morally courageous by stepping up to the plate and demanding justice for our elder, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Part of the Librarys Mission is to keep constant focus on Social Justice and Activism Issues, and the Mumia Abu Jamal issue is one that we want to bring to the forefront, making people aware and keeping them updated. Here we will post various news articles and communications from the organizations that are working to educate people about Mumia.

 

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Above:local driver cursing the Mumia supporters

 

To see the whole photoessay and the photo captions, please click on the link below.

 
 
 
 
 
PHOTOS: French Delegates Arrive For Mumia!, by Hans Bennett
By Hans Bennett | 04.24.2006

On the afternoon of Friday, Aprill 22, supporters of Black journalist and death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, gathered outside of City Hall and DA Abraham’s office for a “Honk for Mumia” demonstration that greeted the numerous French delegates that had just arrived.  
 
 

On the afternoon of Friday, Aprill 22, supporters of Black journalist and death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, gathered outside of City Hall and DA Abraham’s office for a “Honk for Mumia” demonstration that greeted the numerous French delegates that had just arrived.

While a good handful of pedestrians and motorists shouted the typically threatening and racially-charged diatribes that Mumia supporters are used to, many more motorists honked and yelled in support of Abu-Jamal’s appeal for a new trial and eventual freedom. Furthermore, numerous pedestrians and commuters waiting at the bus stop took literature about Mumia’s case and were actively reading it.

At approximately 6pm, the French delegation arrived at the demonstration after their unsuccessful attempt to meet with Mayor John Street. Their arrival came one week before a large U.S. delegation will be joining a ceremony in Sainte Denis, France for the naming of a newly constructed street next to the Nelson Mandela Stadium in honor of Mumia. This street has been constructed to bring attention to this struggle for justice and leads to Nelson Mandela stadium--the largest stadium in all of France.

The protesters then marched to the Friends Center just blocks away for an evening of speakers and musical performances.

Among the many speakers was local Black attorney, activist, and radio personality Michael Cord. Through his summarization of the ballistics evidence that was used to convict Abu-Jamal, he argued that Mumia was not just “legally” innocent, but that he was “factually” innocent. Among several pieces of evidence presented, Coard cited the suspicious lack of a powder residue test on Mumia’s hand (that fateful December, 1981 morning) to see if he had recently fired a weapon. Coard argued that the police probably tested his hand, but when they found no trace of gunpowder residue, the results were hidden and removed from the record.

Ramona Africa, Minister of Information for the MOVE organization, updated the crowd on the case of the MOVE 9 (more on Ramona: www.altpr.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=7 )

She explained that their most recent appeal had just been turned down in March, and therefore the MOVE 9 prisoners have decided to abandon their extensive legal arguments for freedom because they feel that it is only a waste of time and energy to work within the system like that. Instead, they will now be referring to MOVE founder John Africa’s famous “Judge’s Letter” speech that he made during his own trial in the early 1980s.

Ramona also explained that in 2008, the MOVE 9 would be eligible for parole, since would have all completed 30 years of their 30-100 year sentence resulting from the 1978 police assault on their West Philadelphia home… to read more about this, please link to:  http://awol.objector.org/recentnewsandevents/move902.html


Concluding the evening was the usual fiery speech from ICFFMAJ coordinator Pam Africa who emphasized just how important things are right now in Mumia’s case. Volunteers are needed to help with organizing, but Africa also urged people to do whatever they can in their own community to help spread the word.

MAYOR STREET DID NOT MEET WITH FRENCH DELEGATION
According to Pam Africa (in an interview following the day's events), Mayor Street's office contacted the French delegation and told them that he wanted to meet with them personally, but since he was busy he would send his assistant Mr. Taylor to meet with them. However when the French arrived at Street's office expecting to meet Taylor, nobody was present.

Street’s unwillingness to meet with the French delegates is most likely due to events last winter. To view photos from last year, link to:  http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/02/1721239.php

Last February (2005), the French had a meeting with Taylor and were presented with miniature Liberty Bells. Despite the fact that Street's aide did not express much support for Mumia's appeal, the Liberty Bell gift was too much for the Maureen Faulkner/F.O.P. - led "Fry Mumia" lynch mob. For several days after the French met with Taylor, the local newspapers were filled with editorials condemning the actions of Mayor Street's office. Many local journalists (including Michael Smerconish) were accusing Mayor Street of being a “closeted” Mumia supporter.

In the aftermath, Maureen Faulkner (the wife of slain Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner) publicly claimed that Street had apologized to her in a private telephone conversation and said he believed Mumia was guilty and had been properly convicted & sentenced in 1982. This controversial statement by Maureen Faulkner was never publicly affirmed by Mayor Street.

To the contrary, Sundiata Sadiq (of the Ossining, NY chapter of the NAACP) and Pam & Ramona Africa had a meeting with Street following Faulkner's public claim. According to these 3 Mumia supporters, Street told them during their private meeting that Faulkner was lying about his statement. However, when the 3 urged Street to publicly state that, he did not comply and has still never publicly rebuked Faulkner.

LEGAL UPDATE

Mumia’s current legal situation has been summarized very well by Philadelphia journalists Linn Washington and Dave Lindorff on the Counterpunch magazine website. As Lindorff explained in December, 2005, “the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has agreed to hear arguments on three claims by Pennsylvania death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal that his 1982 trial and state appeal were tainted by constitutional violations. Any one of those three claims, if upheld by the three-judge panel, could lead to a new trial for one of America's most famous and long-standing death row prisoners, a Philadelphia-based journalist and former Black Panther activist who was convicted of the 1981 shooting murder of a white Philadelphia police officer. To read the rest of the article, please link to:  http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff12072005.html

In another Counterpunch article, Temple University professor Linn Washington documented the Philadelphia media’s reluctance to report on this development:
 http://www.counterpunch.org/washington12102005.html

Hans Bennett is a Philadelphia-based photo- journalist that has been documenting the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia for over 4 years. He can be contacted via email:  destroycapitalism@hotmail.com

To read Bennett’s interview with Abu-Jamal, please link to:
 http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=4422

An archive of Bennett’s photographs documenting the movement for Mumia can be found on the www.phillyimc.org website by “searching” under his full name.
 

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