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Mumia supporters rally around the cause to end prison abuses

ADONIS BELIN Special to the AmNews | 9/21/2012, 12:44 p.m.
Mumia moved into the General Population

Mumia Abu-Jamal is probably the world's most famous political prisoner. Known for his writings and being involved with pro-African-American movements, this former Black Panther who had been on death row for almost 30 years is now dealing with the controversy of a life sentence as supporters still demand that he is granted freedom.

However, on Aug. 13, apparently without his knowledge, Abu-Jamal was formally resentenced by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe to life imprisonment without parole.

Speaking from prison on Jan. 28, Abu-Jamal told his wife, Wadiya Jamal, to tell the people, "My dear friends, brothers and sisters, I want to thank you for your real hard work and support. I am no longer on death row, no longer in the hole, I'm in population. This is only part one and I thank you for the work you've done, but the struggle is for freedom!"

Already scheduled is an End Mass Incarceration Rally at Harlem's Riverside Church. Activists are calling to "shut down Attica, end solitary confinement and free Mumia and all our political prisoners." Participants and speakers will include Michelle Alexander, Angela Davis, Jazz Hayden, Marc Lamont Hill, Cornel West, Pam Africa and Soffiyah Elijah. Suzanne Ross will act as the panel moderator.

Currently, Abu-Jamal is incarcerated in SCI Mahanoy prison in Frackville, Pa. when he was recently taken off of death row after years of legal wrangling, his supporters began demanding a new case, if not his immediate freedom.

The case of Abu-Jamal, writer and journalist, born as Wesley Cook, continues to catch a lot of attention. Convicted of the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, Abu-Jamal was facing execution. The argument was that Abu-Jamal, a known Black Panther activist, was driving down a street in 1981 when he saw his brother pulled over by a cop. Ultimately, Abu-Jamal was charged and convicted of shooting down Faulkner. This despite numerous witnesses recanting what they now say was forced testimony, and one Arnold Beverley saying that it was he who shot the police officer, not Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal has many supporters, varying from leaders of state in France and all over Africa to other important figures such as Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Abu-Jamal also has parliaments from Europe and Japan on his side, along with city governments in San Francisco, Detroit and Paris, and many more who stand by him.

For more information about the Sept. 14 event, visit www.freemumia.com or call 212-870-6784.