Nowhere is the global mobilization to demand medical treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal more passionately and effectively advanced than in France. A recent visit by a French delegation to the U.S. is indicative of that commitment.
“The delegation is here to support Mumia and to see that he receives proper health care, and also to campaign for other political prisoners who need care,” said Claude Guillaumaud-Pujol, an author and activist who teaches at Temple University and acted as translator. “They are here, as well, to pick up the latest developments and information about Mumia.”
Leading the delegation was Patrick Le Hyaric, a member of the European Parliament and vice chair of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left Group. He is also the editor of the daily L’Humanite and one of the organizers of the annual progressive French festival Fete de l’Humanite. Joining him were a member of the paper’s staff and Jacky Hortaut, a reporter for the paper.
Guillaumaud-Pujol said the group will conduct a series of interviews and travel to Pennsylvania to visit with Abu-Jamal. “I have been there before, and this will be an opportunity for all of us to see his condition and to take our impressions back to France on Sunday,” she said. “Since 1995, I have visited Mumia at least once a year.”
She said it’s been a busy week for the delegation, including a dinner with activist Suzanne Ross as well as scheduled interviews with WBAI and attorney Bob Boyle. They not only have raised the political consciousness of people in France about the plight of Abu-Jamal, but also have raised, over the last score of years, more than $300,000 for his defense and legal fees.
“Mumia is a fairly popular figure in France, particularly in St. Denis, where there’s a street named after him,” said Hortaut. Abu-Jamal, according to broadcaster Amy Goodman, may be more popular in France than he is in the U.S.
Hortaut presented a sheet of stamps with the image of Abu-Jamal. “The stamp is a bit more expensive than the regular stamps since it is part of the campaign to raise funds for him,” Hortaut said through the translator. The stamps cannot be purchased through the French postal service, but through the organizations related to the delegation. Over the years they have sold more than 60,000 stamps, which are mainly in black and white.
When asked of the reaction to Abu-Jamal’s name after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January, Guillaumaud-Pujol said there was no connection to him by the French people.
“No, in fact, this is the first we’ve had to think about such an association,” she answered.
She said they were generally optimistic about the condition of Abu-Jamal, who suffers from hepatitis C, “but we will know better after we see him,” she added. “We know he needs to have the proper medical treatment, and that is something that we will continue to demand.”
This interview took place two days before the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.