[Ppnews] Renewed effort to execute Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 22 17:46:05 EST 2008


National News

Renewed effort to execute Mumia Abu-Jamal?

By Saeed Shabazz
Staff Writer
Updated Dec 22, 2008, 03:58 pm

PHILADELPHIA (FinalCall.com) - "These people are 
pushing for Mumia’s death, despite his innocence. 
We need to organize like we never have before,” 
declared Pam Africa of the International 
Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal 
in the call for a Dec. 6 rally in support of the 
death row inmate in the “City of Brotherly Love."

The 27th anniversary of Mumia’s imprisonment and 
detention on death-row was marked Dec. 9. The 
former Black Panther and community journalist was 
convicted in 1981 in the death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

District Attorney Lynne Abraham is calling on the 
U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Mr. Abu-Jamal’s 
death sentence. If her petition is granted it 
would mean his execution without a new hearing or 
a new trial, according to his supporters.

The district attorney is appealing the Third 
Circuit Court’s affirmation of U.S. District 
Court Judge William Yohn’s 2001 decision which 
overturned the death penalty. Judge Yohn ruled 
that if the district attorney wanted to reinstate 
it, she had to hold a new penalty-phase jury 
trial. It was unclear whether a new petition had been filed.

“The judiciary system has collaborated with the 
D.A., the Fraternal Order of Police, and their 
allies to assure Mumia never leaves prison, and 
preferably, that he be executed and permanently 
silenced,” Ms. Africa told The Final Call.

Mr. Abu-Jamal’s attorney, Robert R. Bryan, has 
said he is appealing to the Supreme Court 
regarding the Third Circuit Court’s denial on May 
27 of a new guilt-phase trial; and the denial of 
a preliminary hearing that, according to the 
attorney “could have led to a new guilt-phase 
trial.” Mr. Bryan has until Dec. 19 to file his petition.

“We have no faith in the courts­they have made 
their position known­we must make our position 
known through actions,” said Ramona Africa, sole 
adult survivor of the May 13, 1985 massacre of 11 
members of the MOVE organization in a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

The rally began at city hall. “We say stop the 
frame up! No to execution! No to life in prison! 
Free Mumia Now!” Ms. Africa shouted to the 
hundreds gathered at the start of the rally.

After a couple hours of speeches and updates on 
actions for or against Mr. Abu-Jamal, the 
gathering marched to 13th and Locust Streets, the 
scene of the shooting of Officer Faulkner and 
where Mr. Abu-Jamal was shot on the scene by 
police. Journalists for Mumia passed out a flyer 
to accompany their crime scene presentation.

The flyer shows photos taken at the crime scene 
by freelance press photographer Pedro Polakoff, 
which are featured in the 2006 book “Race Against 
Death” by German author Dr. Michael Schiffmann of 
the University of Heidelberg. According to 
Journalists for Mumia, there are 26 photos of the 
crime scene, taken by the photographer 12 minutes 
after the shootings and 10 minutes before police 
Mobile Crime Scene investigators arrived.

The journalists told the protestors the photos 
“raise significant reasonable doubt about the 
basic scenario of the officer’s death­a scenario 
that prosecutors constructed to argue for Mumia’s 
guilt.” They also argue that a key procedural 
point is that the photos were offered to police 
and prosecutors in 1981, but never made it to the evidentiary record.

Mr. Polakoff’s photos are featured in the new 
British documentary film “In Prison My Whole 
Life,” which was aired on Dec. 8 on the Sundance 
Channel. “Mumia’s case and the issues surrounding 
it are highly important and need to be analyzed,” 
said filmmaker William Francone.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International in 
the United Kingdom, said in a statement: “It’s 
shocking that the U.S. justice system has 
repeatedly failed to address the appalling 
violation of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s fundamental fair 
trial rights. We hope that the film’s viewers 
will back our call for a fair retrial.”

“I don’t think anyone is saying that this is an 
easy fight,” attorney Lynn Stewart told The Final 
Call. “Mumia’s only hope for an appeal now is in 
the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court,” she added.

“We are here today in Philadelphia to keep before 
the justice system and the public our call for 
justice for Mumia,” stated Ashanti Alston of the 
Jericho Movement, a national coalition of 
organizations that fight for the rights of U.S. political prisoners.

Supporters say Mr. Abu-Jamal was targeted because 
of his political activism, abused in police 
custody and did not receive a fair trial because 
the jury and judge were racist.

Other demonstrations in support of Mr. Abu-Jamal 
were held in Germany, with a march to the U.S. 
embassy in Berlin and marches to American embassy 
in Mexico City. Solidarity events were held in 
St. Denis and Paris, France. Events in support of 
Mr. Abu-Jamal were also held in Portland, San Diego, Baltimore and Detroit.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

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