On the 58th anniversary of his birth, staunch supporters of the world’s most visible political prisoner of war are scheduled to converge upon the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C., to demand that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder investigate the civil and human rights violations regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case and that he be released from prison.
Initially announced last Dec. 9 at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, the Occupy the Justice Department movement has garnered much momentum leading up to April 24. Also to be addressed will be another topic raised that day, that is, Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked the nation to “rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights and justice.”
“Life in prison without the possibility of parole is not what we interpret as a victory. Mumia needs to come home, and that is one of the main objectives of this demonstration–to make it loud and clear this is not acceptable,” determined Ramona Africa, an Abu-Jamal supporter and MOVE Organization member.
Abu-Jamal’s supporters note that after enduring the inhumane conditions of being held captive in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s death row for over 30 years, Abu-Jamal was transferred to general prison population earlier this January. The previous month, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office announced that they’d no longer seek to, according to his supporters, “legally lynch” him. His sentence was relegated to life without parole.
“The main objective [of this demonstration] is to bring attention to Mumia, who was removed from death row and is innocent and should’ve gone home,” said Pam Africa, another strong advocate for Abu-Jamal.
At the time of Abu-Jamal’s capture, the entire Philadelphia Police Department was under investigation by the DOJ for terrorizing city citizens and rampant allegations of corruption. Soon thereafter, 15 of the 35 cops involved in Abu-Jamal’s investigation were convicted and incarcerated due to findings by the DOJ regarding other cases involving corruption, tampering with evidence to obtain convictions and witness coercion.
“The DOJ needs to be involved with this because the Philadelphia Police Department was indicted by them after their first attack on my family back in 1978,” Ramona Africa suggested. “A number of prominent cops who were investigated were involved in the mishandling of evidence in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
The DOJ suit alleges that the Philadelphia police participated in “shooting nonviolent suspects, abusing handcuffed prisoners, suppressing dissension within its ranks, and engaging in a pattern of brutal behavior.”
Ramona Africa added, “This is not just about Mumia. We want people to hear about other political prisoners. This is about all of us. What this is doing is bringing attention to the millions of Mumias behind those bars that nobody is paying attention to.”
The investigation revealed that many innocent people were convicted by the testimonies and work of some of these very same corrupt cops.
“We have been doing the DOJ since the late ’90s, with thorough information [on] why there should be an investigation into what’s happening here,” stated Pam Africa. “People are saying enough is enough! People like Danny Glover, Frances Fox Pixen and M-1 from Dead Prez are willing to risk their freedom to bring attention to Mumia’s case.”
Abu-Jamal’s supporters are hopeful that continued progress will be made in their efforts to eventually earn the revolutionary writer’s freedom.
For more info, visit freemumia.com or call (212) 330-8029.