The United States Supreme Court dismissed a lower court ruling that nullified the death sentence for journalist, activist and Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was also known as the “peoples’ reporter.”
The justices made their announcement on Tuesday, ordering the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit its 2008 ruling granting a new sentence hearing for the 55-year-old activist, who has been on death row since 1982 for the killing in 1981 of a Philadelphia policeman, Daniel Faulkner–a crime which Abu-Jamal has always claimed he never committed. The Supreme Court denied Abu-Jamal’s separate petition for a new trial in 2009.
The appeals court has the option of re-imposing the death sentence or ordering a new federal trial to hear the claims of “racism” during the trial process by the prosecution.
“We will take to the streets around the world the day after the Supreme Court ruling,” Dr. Suzanne Ross of the free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition-New York told the AmNews. The New York City demonstration was scheduled for Wednesday, January 20 to take place in front of the Harlem State Office Building at 4 p.m.
Scheduled speakers at the Harlem event were to be Brooklyn Councilman and original Black Panther Charles Barron; Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild; Nana Soul of Black Wax Productions; internationally recognized hip-hop artists Immortal Technique; Spirit Child of the hip-hop band Mental Notes; professor Johanna Fernandez of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal; and representatives from the December 12th Movement and the International Action Center.
Ross said that demonstrations will be held in cities across the U.S., such as Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif. Internationally, protests are scheduled for Paris, Germany and Mexico City.
The international human rights organization, Amnesty International recently stated that “justice would best be served by granting a new trial.” The group tabbed Abu-Jamal’s trial as a travesty of justice, citing bias in the original judge’s instruction and his conduct during the trial; a racially skewed process of jury selection; numerous other denials of due process; and prosecution/police intimidation of witnesses.
“Mumia is in greater danger than at anytime since his arrest 28 years ago, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules because the prosecution [in Philadelphia] has vowed to continue pursuing the death penalty,” stated Abu-Jamal’s attorney, Robert R. Bryan of San Francisco, Calif., in an e-mail message on January 18.
Philadelphia elected its first Black district attorney at the end of 2009.
Bryan also talks about an online petition that was
Ross told the AmNews that, locally, the movement to have U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder open up a civil rights investigation in the Abu-Jamal case continues. For more information, see www.freemumia.com.