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Mumia's supporters call his birthday a day of resurrection

Saeed Shabazz | 5/25/2011, 9:23 a.m.

According to reports, the presiding judge stated at the time, "Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the nigger."

On March 27, 2008, a three-judge panel issued a majority 2-1 opinion that upheld the 2001 opinion but rejected the bias issue. They said that if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose not to hold a new hearing, Abu-Jamal would automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

In July of 2008, Abu-Jamal's petition seeking a reconsideration of the decision by the full Third Circuit panel of 12 judges was denied. On April 6, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal, and on Jan. 19, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider the decision to rescind the death penalty, also ordering them to hear submissions for that purpose. That is where the case stands now.

Abu-Jamal addressed a standing-room only gathering of his supporters at Riverside Church on April 3. When a questioner asked him what has kept him going for the past 30 years, he said, "It has been a long, hard struggle. I have been blessed with a loving family. I am inspired when I see people organize against neo-colonial imperialism."

So, one might ask, what does Ross mean by a resurrection? The purpose for the gathering at Riverside Church was to introduce Abu-Jamal's new legal team to his supporters: attorney Christine Swarms, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund's Criminal Justice Project, and attorney Judith Ritter, professor at Widener Law School in Wilmington, Del.

"No question, the criminal justice system has failed him and that has everything to do with race," Swarms said, adding, "That is why the LDF is in this case."

The spirit in the room on April 3 showed the significance of the "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Movement" 30 years later, said Ross. In her exclusive interview with the AmNews she noted that the support for Abu-Jamal in France was very significant moment.

Ross said that the two attorneys are going for the April 30 street-renaming celebration along with Bill Bachmann, a union activist with the American Postal Workers Union and member of the NYC Free Mumia Coalition; a two-member delegation from Germany's "Free Mumia Movement"; and a 12-member delegation from the Pan-African Society in London, England.

Last but not least, Ramona Africa and Pam Africa from the International Coalition out of Philadelphia will be in attendance. "We have to agitate and make people stay on the move," Pam Africa said. "The fact of it is we are all on death row."