(en)Mumia Under Attack by Prison Authorities

Andy (3arb@qlink.queensu.ca)
Thu, 20 Feb 1997 17:06:17 -0500 (EST)


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URGENT CALL TO ACT IN DEFENSE OF MUMIA (February 18, 1997) from Refuse & Resist!

In the last few days, Pennsylvania prison authorities have launched a series of crude new attacks on Mumia Abu-Jamal. Because these attacks are aimed at further isolating Mumia from his supporters, they must be responded to immediately.

These attacks may also be in preparation for the announcement of new adverse decisions by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with the purpose of placing Mumia in Disciplinary Custody which would cut off his phone privileges and cut off his access to the media completely-in other words an "official gag." Further, these attacks come following the publication of Mumia's new book Death Blossoms. This time officials may not wish to attack him directly for writing a book, and are looking for other ways to apply the censor's hand.

Here is what has happened: On Thursday, February 13, Mumia was told that he would have to cut his hair, and he had ten days to comply. Mumia wears his hair in natural "dreadlocks" for religious reasons, just as other prisoners wear religious head coverings. He has worn his hair this way for the 16 years he has been held captive. In 1985, immediately after the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, Mumia and the MOVE members in other Pennsylvania prisons were all ordered to cut their hair. They refused, and Mumia was thrown into "the hole" until 1992 when then Gov. Casey rescinded the order.

The second thing that happened is that Mumia's attorney who is handling his civil suit against the prison authorities, Jere Krakoff of Pittsburgh, was barred from visiting Mumia at the prison. He has visited Mumia as his attorney on six previous occasions.

Third, Mumia was handed a letter on legal matters sent by his attorney Leonard Weinglass, where the envelope had been torn open and the words "cop killer" were written across the front.

Fourth, Chris Zimmerman, a member of the Bruderhof community and the Pennsylvania Prison Society was grabbed and thrown out of the prison following a visit. He has now been permanently barred from the Pennsylvania Prison system.

These outrages must be responded to immediately. In addition to mounting visible public protest, prominent people, religious and governmental officials must be called on to speak out.

Letters of protest can be sent to:

Acting Superintendent Vaughn, State Correctional Institution at Greene, 1030 E. Roy Furman Hwy., Waynesburg, PA 15370-8089. Phone 412-852-2902; fax 412- 852-2909 and 412-852-5502. Martin Horn, Commissioner of Corrections, Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 598, Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598. Phone 717-975-4859; fax 717-977-0132.

Please send copies of protest letters to the International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Phone 215-476-8812; fax 215-476-7551.

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