New Yorkers working feverishly to save Mumia Abu-Jamal
Saeed Shabazz | 4/12/2011, 4:38 p.m.
The New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition will hold a mobilization meeting on October 30, 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Church, 521 West 126th Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway, to address the national and international mobilization to free the political prisoner, held on death row for the past 28 years.
The man known as the "Voice of the Voiceless" was convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, a crime that Mumia has always claimed he did not commit.
"People in New York City are mobilizing and giving everything they've got towards our effort to save Mumia's life," Dr. Suzanne Ross, co-chair of the NYC organization, explained to the AmNews. We need people to help make signs, hand out fliers and to make phone calls to get people out for the November 12 mass demonstration in Washington, D.C., Ross said.
On November 12, Mumia supporters will gather in front of the U.S. Department of Justice as petitions will be delivered to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a civil rights review into the Philadelphia activist's case. "At this critical point in Mumia's case, a civil rights investigation could mean the difference between life and death for him--it could open the door for his ultimate release," explained Ross.
Attorney Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement tells the AmNews that he has personally written the U.S. attorney general because he doesn't have faith that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide in Mumia's favor. "There were undeniable violations of Mumia's rights during his trial," Wareham said.
Author J. Patrick O'Connor in May wrote that Amnesty International, in a 2000 pamphlet entitled "The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Life in the Balance," stated even the appeal process for the former Black Panther "has been fraught with judicial machinations."
Mumia's lead attorney, San Francisco-based Robert R. Bryan, on October 10 e-mailed supporters and journalists to say that this was a "very crucial time" in his client's three-decade-long fight to stay alive and win his freedom. Bryan also said Mumia "is now a global symbol against the death penalty," but this is a dangerous time for him because of the political forces in play to kill him.
In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled that Mumia could spend the rest of his life in jail without parole, but Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that ruling, opening the door for his execution.
The AmNews has learned that on October 13, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in another case, which analysts say is similar to Mumia's case, Smith v. Spisak, however, the court may rule in this case and then simply send a letter to the Philadelphia district attorney that would again open the door for Mumia's execution.
This is all very complicated, so for more information, visit the website www.freemumia.com.
"We need a lot of support," stated Pam Africa, co-chairperson of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia. Africa, speaking to the AmNews from her home in the City of Brotherly Love, said, "We are going to the Justice Department on November 12, not seeking justice, but to bring justice."