Coordinator of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
(March 29, 2008):
Last week's court decision was not a victory. While we obviously prefer to have Mumia alive, instead of executed, life in prison without parole is an unacceptable sentence for an innocent man that was convicted with a blatantly unfair trial. Further, there is still no guarantee that he will not be executed. Also, even if the overturning of the death penalty is eventually finalized, there is no guarantee that he will be moved into the general prison population, because the government has always found ways to make "exceptions" for political prisoners like Mumia.
Once again the courts have held Mumia's case to different standards than other cases. At the 1982 trial Prosecutor McGill used 10 of his 15 peremptory strikes to remove otherwise acceptable black jurors, yet the court ruled that there was not even the appearance of discrimination against just one of these black jurors!
Judge Thomas Ambro has noted this blatant double-standard with the court's rejection of the "Batson" claim regarding racist jury selection, and he states in his dissenting opinion that the court's ruling "goes against the grain of our prior actions…I see no reason why we should not afford Abu-Jamal the courtesy of our precedents."
We have absolutely no faith in the judicial system, but if Mumia does have a court proceeding, we will continue to mobilize to pack the courtroom and the streets in support of Mumia, just like we have always done whenever there was a courtroom proceeding for Mumia, whether he was present or not. However, we know that if Mumia gets justice, it will not come from the courts, but only from the pressure generated by the people.
Therefore, we will take to the streets with a mass-demonstration in Philadelphia on April 19 demanding Mumia's release based on the evidence of both innocence and judicial misconduct from the City of Philadelphia all the way up to the federal level. In response to the recent court decision, numerous demonstrations have already been organized internationally and inside the US. On April 19, with the media spotlight on Pennsylvania's Presidential Primary Election, supporters from around the world will gather in Philadelphia to take a constitutional stand and show our outrage with this unjust court decision.