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Mumia supporters to shine light on case at NAACP conference

Maryam Abdul-Aleem | 4/12/2011, 4:38 p.m.

While the NAACP will host its centennial convention at the New York Hilton Hotel, where President Obama is scheduled to attend on the last day of the six-day conference, supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and activist on death row since 1982, will hold a press conference at the hotel to shed light on Abu-Jamal's case at 10 a.m. on July 13.

Elected officials, activists and organizations are expected to join the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) there. They will also convene at 6 o'clock that evening.

The coalition is also launching a campaign and petition signing movement to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights federal investigation into Abu-Jamal's case.

In 2004,the NAACP made a resolution in Philadelphia showing its "support of the international movement for a new and fair trial," but has not acted on that resolution, according to a flyer for the July 13 press conference by the Free Mumia Coalition. The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition is urging people who want to support their cause to sign the petition to Eric Holder online, to contact your local NAACP chapter and to join them in a day of lobbying congressional representatives on Wednesday, July 22.

Abu-Jamal is now incarcerated at Pennsylvania's SCI Greene, where he celebrated his 55th birthday on April 24.

Author J. Patrick O'Connor writes in "The Mumia Exception" that "over the last 27 years, he has become the most visible of the invisible 3,600 death row inmates in the United States." Supporters of Abu-Jamal, who was a journalist that documented police brutality, charge that "prosecutorial and judicial" misconduct played a role in his wrongful charge of murdering a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, in 1981.

Abu-Jamal has received international recognition and reportedly has been made an honorary citizen in over 20 cities around the world. He even has a street named after him in Paris.

Abu-Jamal's supporters believe that witnesses were manipulated, evidence was tampered with and a proper defense was denied, which contributed to his imprisonment.

U.S. Cong. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House's Committee on Ways and Means, and former Cong. Cynthia McKinney have written letters to Attorney General Holder as well. Actress Ruby Dee, professor Cornel West and many others are also in support of Abu-Jamal.

In Cynthia McKinney's letter to Holder, she said, "Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. is known for, among other things, having said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Ignoring any instance of racism inside the courtroom leads to injustice that threatens us all." And Amnesty International, in 2000, wrote a report titled

"The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Life in the Balance," where they analyzed the case and "the possible political influences that may have prevented him from receiving an impartial and fair hearing."

Sundiata Sadiq, the former president of the Ossining NAACP, told the Amsterdam Newsin a phone interview that he believes Abu-Jamal was framed like so many others. On April 6,the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Abu-Jamal's appeal for a new trial.

Exhausting options with the Supreme Court, Sadiq said now the movement is geared toward getting Eric Holder to start an investigation.

"We believe the appointment of Eric Holder is a breakthrough for the Black and oppressed community as a whole," he said.

"We just have to present our case. Eric Holder knows about racism."

To find out more information about the press conference on July 13 at the Hilton Hotel or any more information about the

Free Mumia Coalition, visit www.freemunia.com or call (212) 330-8029.