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(en) Mumia still on death row : Update

From MichaelP <papadop@PEAK.ORG>
Date Sun, 8 Mar 1998 13:26:48 -0800 (PST)


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Subject: Mumia Update by Len Weinglass
Date: 7 Mar 1998 
From: Mumia <Mumia@aol.com> 

Fact sheet plus:
   Events since the supreme court filing in October 97

---------------------------------------------------------------
       FACT   SHEET   ON   MUMIA   ABU   JAMAL 1998

Born: April 23, 1954 in Philadelphia, PA
Father of 3 children,  grandfather to 3 children

Occupation:Journalist Recipient of awards and honors for his reporting on
police misconduct, abuse of authority, and racial discrimination, education
and housing in Philadelphia.  Exposed police and prosecutorial wrongdoing
in the police attack on the Move organization and the subsequent
prosecution of Move members.

Political activities:  Founding member of the Black Panther Party in
Philadelphia, Pa. and Minister of Information. His political activities
caused The Federal Bureau of Information (FBI) to maintain a surveillance
of him since he was 16 years  of age. They have acknowledged accumulating
hundreds of pages of reports on his activities, none of which reflected
criminal activity.

Convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty for the
alleged shooting and killing of a white  police officer on December 9,
1981.  He had no prior criminal record.

Has been on death row in Pennsylvania for 17 years,  awaiting execution -
the only political prisoner on death  row. Initially scheduled for
execution on August 17, 1995, the execution  was stayed by a Court order 10
days  prior to being carried out. Currently awaiting a decision from the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on whether or  not he is to receive a new
trial. If the Court rejects that appeal a new execution date will be
ordered by the  Governor of Pennsylvania, presumably sometime in 1998.

Since his incarceration on death row:

Mumia has written two books: Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms. His
first book, Live From Death Row, has been translated into 7 languages and
has been widely read in the United States.

A third book, Race for Justice, has been written about his case by Mumia's
attorneys and won an award from the American Bookseller's Association as
the best book on Politics for 1996.

National Public Radio in the United States agreed to air twelve of Mumia's
commentaries taped while on  death row.  After presidential aspirant Robert
Dole attacked the NPR for doing this on the floor of the  United States
Senate, the programs were canceled.

Mumia was awarded an honorary law degree from the New School of Law in San
Francisco, California

He was voted an honorary vice president by the 5000 member National
Lawyer's Guild, a progressive lawyers Association in American.

He was named an honorary citizen of the Central District of Copenhagen,
Denmark  (Norrebro) as well as the City of Palermo in Italy.

In November, 1997 Mumia was awarded the coveted Solhvervfonden Foundation
Award in Copenhagen, Denmark for his services to humanity as a voice of
conscience.

A Committee to Save Mumia Abu Jamal was established in the United States
which  included such well known figures as Whoopi Goldberg, Harry
Belafonte, Edward Asner, Ossie Davis, Mike Farrell, Julian Bond (newly
elected President of the NAACP) and others. The lead organization in the
support network is The International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal,
based in Philadelphia.

An International Tribunal, made up of outstanding personages from many
countries and the U.S.,  convened in Philadelphia on December 6, 1997, and
reviewed the circumstances of his case, voting unanimously to free Mumia
and calling for an investigation into the agencies responsible for his
prosecution and imprisonment.

International dignitaries, such as President Nelson Mandela of South
Africa, the former President of West Germany, the Foreign Minister of
Belgium, and others, have called for a new trial for Mumia.

International legislators, such as 38 members of the Japanese Diet and 74
members of the Danish Parliament, have also called for a new trial.

The European Parliament has passed resolutions calling for a review of his
conviction, citing the fact that "numerous personalities and heads of
government, human rights organizations, trade unions and political parties
worldwide have called for Mr. Abu Jamal's life to be saved."

The Honorable Pierre Sane, Secretary General of Amnesty International,
issued a statement on November 25, 1997, after visiting with Mumia.
expressing concern that  "...Amnesty International fears that Mumia Abu
Jamal's original trial may have been contaminated by the deep-rooted racism
that appears to taint the application of the death penalty in
Pennsylvania." and calling for a moratorium on executions in Philadelphia
because of the pervasive effects of race in imposing capital punishment.
Shortly thereafter, the Bar Association of the City of Philadelphia called
for a moratorium on all executions "until such time that fairness in its
administration (of death penalty cases) can be assured."

Over 200 German attorneys, prosecutors and judges have signed an appeal
asking for a  new trial for Mumia. 44 Danish defense attorneys have done
the same.

100,000 Italians and 40,000 Frenchmen and women have signed petitions
calling for a new trial for  Mumia.

Large public demonstrations to free Mumia have been held in Philadelphia,
New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other
large cities in the U.S..Lectures on his case have been held on college
campuses and at law schools throughout the United States.  There have also
been numerous readings of his books and concerts to  benefit his case.

In 1996, the leading cable TV company in the United States, HBO, aired a
one hour documentary on Mumia's case entitled, "A Case for Reasonable
Doubt" which was viewed by millions of households in the United States and
which  made a strong case for a new trial.

The leading magazine for attorneys in the United States, The American
Lawyer, published a long article analyzing the facts of the case and called
for a new trial.

Public gatherings to consider and support his case have taken place in the
following European Cities: London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam,
Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Antwerp, Frankfurt, Milan, Hamburg,
Cologne, Bologna and others.

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 

    EVENTS SINCE THE CLOSE OF SUPREME COURT FILINGS ON OCTOBER 1,1997


 October 31:     The Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates passes
a resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment in
Pennsylvania, noting that the "Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
statistics raise a serious concern that people of color and men are
sentenced to death at a rate which substantially exceeds the rate at which
Caucasians and women are sentenced to death."

November 15: Mumia receives the Solhvervfonden Foundation Award in
Copenhagen, Denmark for his service to humanity as a voice of conscience.

November 25: Pierre Sane, Secretary General of Amnesty International visits
Mumia and afterward condemns the Pennsylvania death penalty as "one of the
most racist and unfair" in the United States.

November 25: The Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association
pass a resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment until such
time as it could be administered in a fair and impartial way.

December 3:   800 Judges and Prosecutors in Germany demand that Mumia's
sentence be vacated and a new trial granted.

December 4:   44 Danish Lawyers sign an appeal calling for a new trial for
Mumia.

December 6:   The International Tribunal, made up of 23 judges from France,
Haiti, South Africa, Egypt, Spain, Germany and the U.S., concludes that
Mumia's rights were violated by the named defendants and calls for an
investigation and the freeing of Mumia with compensation.

December 10: The Judgement of the Tribunal was presented to a
representative of the U.N. Human Rights Commission

December 30: The Third Circuit Court of Appeals rules, in Frey v. Fulcomer,
that the standard instruction Pennsylvania gives on mitigating
circumstances violates the principle of Mills v. Maryland, a U.S. Supreme
Court decision.

Jan. 12, 1998: United States Magistrate Alan N. Bloch of the Western
District of Pennsylvania rules that the conditions under which Mumia is
obliged to meet with his attorneys violates his First and Fourteenth
Ammendment rights as well as those of fellow plaintiffs 

January 16:A report on the Tribunal is made to a gathering at the Hospital
Workers Union Hall in New York City.

January 18: The people of the Central District of Copenhagen, Denmark vote
to make Mumia an  honorary citizen.

Feb. 4:A gathering at the Cardozoa School of Law in New York City hears
speakers on the issue of political prisoners which draws nearly 500
students and faculty. Mumia is prominently mentioned and an excerpt of the
film on the Tribunal is shown.

Feb 18:Mumia files a Supplementary Petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court informing the Court of the Frey decision, the resolutions of the
State and Philadelphia Bar and the public pronouncements on Pennsylvania's
use of capital punishment by Secretary General Pierre Sane of Amnesty
International.

March 4:The District Attorney of Philadelphia answers Mumia's Supplemental
Petition arguing that, with respect to Frey,  the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania is not bound by the decisions of the appellate courts of the
United States below the level of the Supreme Court; and that, in any event,
"Frey is simply wrong."

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