Imam Jamil Al-Amin (219362)
Credit: Wikipedia

As he commemorated his 78th bornday on Monday, Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s supporters escalated efforts to establish his innocence. The original-Black Panther leader has been imprisoned for the March 16, 2000, murder of Fulton County sheriff’s deputy Ricky Kinchen, and wounding his partner, Aldranon English. Despite inadequate evidence, in 2002 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Although charged for a Georgia state crime, he was transferred to Florence, Colorado’s ADX SuperMax prison, where he languished over a decade, and is presently imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, site of a recent rally.

“This has been a personal fight for me for 21 years, because this is my father,” attorney Kairi Al-Amin said at the Aug. 15 gathering. “I’m tired, this thing is weighing on me and it’s heavy. Hopefully the weight will be lifted soon and he’ll walk out those doors and spend the rest of his life on this side of the wall.”

Supporters want him relocated to Georgia where he’ll be close to his loved ones, lawyers, and receive adequate medical attention. They’re also pushing to have him exonerated if they’re permitted to present previously withheld evidence, in a new trial.

On June 29, 2000, parolee Otis Jackson confessed to the crime in sworn affidavits, providing detailed accounts of the shootout. He matched eyewitness’ descriptions of the shooter.

However, his confession was ignored, along with other supporting evidence during Al-Amin’s trial, which was conducted, “In the midst of government surveillance on civil-rights leaders and post 9/11 Islamophobia. It is also important to note that Al-Amin went to trial in March 2002, less than six months after 9/11. At a time when hatred against Muslims in the U.S. was at an all-time high,” assessed investigative reporter, Hamzah Raza.

Deputy English testified that he shot two men who “had grey eyes” in the incident. Jamil’s are brown, and he was uninjured when arrested four days afterwards, and neither his DNA nor fingerprints were on the alleged murder weapon.

“Time is of the essence, and we must fearlessly speak out against this injustice and advocate for Imam Jamil NOW,” urged Oussama Jammal, secretary general of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, co-sponsors of August’s event. “Imam Jamil’s health is not well. He needs our voices. He needs us to advocate for him the way he advocated for us throughout his lifetime.”

In 2019, the Supreme Court denied Al-Amin’s challenge that his conviction on grounds that his constitutional rights were violated during trial, as well as while incarcerated.

Al-Amin has an extensive history of keeping his community drug-free and overall reducing crime. His attorneys cite prosecutorial misconduct on not allowing them to present pertinent evidence. Also, that he’s been deprived proper medical care, including cataract surgery, causing him to be legally blind. That neglect is a violation of his 8th Amendment right to avoid cruel and unusual punishment.

During August’s multi-ethnic event various groups spoke.

“Today we’re here to draw attention to the injustices that Jamil and his family has faced due to the continued devaluation of Black voice, Black thought, Black action and Black life in this country,” said Mimi Arrayaa, Black Lives Matter Phoenix-Metro.

Maha Elkolall, Students for Imam Jamil, stated: “He was a civil-rights leader, he spoke truth to justice. This is spiritual warfare. He fought for Black liberation and empowered people.”

Currently, there’s a case in Federal Court demanding Jamil receive medical attention. His case is also being reviewed by the Fulton County Conviction Integrity Unit, which can exonerate him fully.

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