Thursday, September 18, 2008

Towards Justice and Freedom: with Pam Africa, Ramona Africa and more

Towards Justice and Freedom:
w/ Pam Africa, Ramona Africa, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., JR, Julia
Wright (from Paris) and Leslie Jones

SATURDAY Night September 27th 6pm.
at
Black New World (no charge, donations gladly accepted)
863 Pine St.
West Oakland, CA
415-648-4505 for more information

There are many more events scheduled for this week long tour, email
info@prisonradio.org for a complete list.

Warrens File Civil Lawsuit

PRESS RELEASE

September 16, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Moore (212) 490-0400

ATTORNEY JONATHAN MOORE, ELECTED OFFICIALS OF NEW YORK, AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL COMMUNITY WILL HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE THE FILING OF A CIVIL LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT ON BEHALF OF ATTORNEYS MICHAEL AND EVELYN WARREN

On September 18, 2008, attorney Jonathan Moore will file a lawsuit on behalf of attorneys Michael and Evelyn Warren against The City of New York, the New York City Police Department, Sergeant Steven Talvy and other officers for injuries arising out of an incident of police misconduct on June 21, 2007.

On June 21,2007, Sergeant Talvy of the NYPD SNEU beat and arrested attorneys Michael and Evelyn Warren after they questioned why the police were viciously kicking a young man they had already taken to the ground and handcuffed. For stepping forward to inquire into the welfare of the young man, Michael Warren received several blows to
the head and was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration and Resisting Arrest; Evelyn was punched in the face and charged with Disorderly Conduct.

The Warrens were forced to appear in court on 7 occasions over the course of a year to defend against the false charges. On July 2, 2008, all charges against them were dismissed, due to insufficient evidence.

On August 13, 2008, the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated charges against Sergeant Steven Talvy for use of force against Michael Warren.

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: Thursday, September 18, 2008, at 10:00 AM

WHERE: Steps of City Hall

--
Free All Political Prisoners!
nycjericho@gmail.com • www.jerichony.org

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Legal Update for Mumia Abu-Jamal

NOTE from ICFFMAJ: This is not the appeal to the US Supreme Court on the Batson issue for a new trial that will be filed later this year. This is a new very important legal initiative appealing to the US Supreme Court on the use of police-coerced testimony and fabricated confessions both by the Common Court of Appeals and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in convicting Mumia and sentencing him to death in clear violation of his constitutional rights.

Legal Update

Date: September 12, 2008
From: Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
Subject: U.S. Supreme Court litigation on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row, Pennsylvania

Introduction
There has been extensive news attention to the ongoing federal proceedings concerning my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, on the hotly contested issue of racism in jury selection and the ordering of a new jury trial on the question of life or death. (*Abu-Jamal v. Horn*, 520 F.3d 272 (3rd Cir. 2008).) The massive issue of racism will be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. However, few are aware that we have been actively litigating separate issues concerning fraud and the subornation of perjury by the Philadelphia Police Department and the District Attorney of Philadelphia. We are now before the Supreme Court regarding this governmental misconduct which resulted in Mumia being convicted and sentenced to death.


U.S. Supreme Court


On July 18, 2008, I filed on behalf of Mumia in the Supreme Court, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. (*Abu-Jamal v. ** Pennsylvania*, U.S. Sup. Ct. No. 08-5456.) This arises from adverse rulings by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The basis of the current litigation is that the prosecution persuaded witnesses to lie in order to obtain a conviction and death judgment against my client. The following are excerpts from what I have presented to the Supreme Court (without case citations and legal argument):

QUESTIONS PRESENTED FOR REVIEW

I.
Whether a new trial is mandated where there is newly discovered evidence establishing that the police (a) persuaded a witness to falsely identify a defendant as having shot a police officer, and (b) induced another to falsely claim she heard him confess, in violation of rights guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

II.
Whether a new trial is required where there is newly discovered evidence which establishes that the prosecution used a fabricated confession and false identification testimony in a capital murder trial, in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

III.
Whether the prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory evidence including the fact that (a) a witness was persuaded to lie that she had witnessed the homicide and (b) another encouraged to manufacture a false confession attributed to Petitioner, contravened *Brady v. Maryland, *373 U.S. 83 (1963) and the right to a fair trial, due process of law, and a fair penalty trial guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

IV.
Whether it is error for a state court to deny a hearing on newly discovered evidence of prosecutorial fraud and innocence, where the new claims involving police-induced false testimony were previously unknown to a petitioner and could not have been ascertained by the exercise of due diligence because of state interference.


REASONS FOR GRANTING THE WRIT

I.
THE NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE ESTABLISHES THAT THE PROSECUTION MANIPULATED A PURPORTED EYEWITNESS TO FALSELY IDENTIFY PETITIONER AS THE SHOOTER, IN VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH, SIXTH EIGHTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS

Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair and reliable determination of guilt and penalty, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution because the state's purported eyewitness, Cynthia White, was coaxed and coerced into providing false testimony against him. Her testimony was critical to the prosecution. If the jury had learned that her testimony was the product of threats and favors, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the trial would have been different. . . .

Newly discovered evidence from [Yvette} Williams establishes that White lied by falsely testifying that she observed Petitioner shoot police officer Daniel Faulkner. In fact, she did not see the shooting. White was threatened with imprisonment and in fear of being killed by the police if she did not help them by testifying against Petitioner. As Ms. Williams explained:

6. When [Cynthia White] told me she didn't see who shot Officer Faulkner, I asked her why she was "lying on that man" (Mumia Abu-Jamal). She told me it was because for the police and vice threatened her life. Additionally, the police were giving her money for tricks. "The way she talked, we were talking "G's" ($1,000.00). She also said she was terrified of what the police would do to her if she didn't say that Mumia shot Officer Faulkner. According to Lucky (White), the police told her they would... send her "up" . . . for a long time if she didn't testify to what they told her to say...

7. Lucky was worried the police would kill her if she didn't say what they wanted... She was scared when she told me all of this plus she was crying and shaking. Whenever she talked about testifying against Mumia Abu-Jamal, and how the police were making her lie, she was nervous and very excited and I could tell how scared she was from the way she was talking and crying.

8. Lucky told me that what really happened that night was that she was... in the area... when Officer Faulkner got shot, but she definitely did not see who did it. She also told me that she had a drug habit and was high on drugs when it happened. She tried to run away after the shooting, but the cops grabbed her and wouldn't let her go. They took her in the car first and told her that she saw Mumia shoot Officer Faulkner.

Declaration of Yvette Williams, Jan. 28, 2002 at 2-3.
The declaration of Ms. Williams does not merely provide direct contradiction of the prosecution's key witness at trial, but it also materially undermines the integrity of the case against Petitioner. The fact that the prosecution witness testified falsely as a result of police inducement taints all of the evidence upon which the prosecution relied at the original trial, and offends the Constitution. Such proof would not only have impeached White's testimony, but would have created doubt about the motives and trustworthiness of law enforcement personnel involved in this case. . . . The subornation of perjury from White results in the inescapable conclusion that the investigating officers caused other witnesses to lie, and that exculpa tory and impeachment evidence was suppressed. Evidence that White was coerced into lying would have been far more significance than simply canceling out her testimony, which in and of itself was of major significance. It would raise a host of questions regarding why the police felt the need to fabricate evidence. . . .


II.
NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATES THAT PETITIONER WAS FOUND GUILTY AND SENTENCED TO DEATH THROUGH THE USE OF A POLICE FABRICATED CONFESSION IN VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH, SIXTH EIGHTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS

Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair and reliable determination of guilt and penalty, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, because of the state's reliance on a fabricated confession and by its thwart ing of defense efforts to expose that falsehood. Newly discovered evidence has established that Priscilla Durham, a hospital security guard who testified at trial to hearing Petitioner allegedly confess, has since admitted to concocting the story. Declaration of Kenneth Pate, Apr. 18, 2003. She admitted to Mr. Pate that in fact she never heard Petitioner make any incriminating statements. He recalls:

...

2. Sometime around the end of 1983 or the beginning of 1984 I had a telephone conversation with Priscilla Durham in which the subject of Mumia Abu-Jamal came up.

...

5. Then Priscilla started talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal. She said that when the police brought him in that night she was working at the hospital. Mumia was all bloody and the police were interfering with his treatment, saying "let him die."

6. Priscilla said that the police told her that she was part of the "brotherhood" of police since she was a security guard and that she had to stick with them and say that she heard Mumia say that he killed the police officer, when they brought Mumia in on a stretcher.

7. I asked Priscilla: "Did you hear him say that?" Priscilla said: "All I heard him say was "Get off me, get off me, they're trying to kill me.

Declaration of Kenneth Pate, Apr. 18, 2003.
Ms. Durham was the only civilian to claim that Petitioner admitted the shooting. There is a reasonable probability that if the jury was informed that Durham was pressured by police into lying, it certainly would have disregarded the alleged confession. Without proof of a confession, there is a reasonable probability that the verdict would have been different. . . .

Moreover, as in the situation of the fabricated testimony of Cynthia White, disclosure of the pressure placed upon Durham to falsely claim she heard the confession, would likewise create a reasonable probability that the other witnesses and evidence presented would be viewed by the jury with skepticism. In effect disclosure that the police caused both Durham and White to lie, would have brought into question the credibility and legitimacy of the other evidence presented again Petitioner. In that even the prosecution case against Petitioner would have collapsed like a house of cards.

By the prosecution concealing evidence that two of its crucial witnesses lied, Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair trial and due process of law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The petition filed on behalf of him in the state court addressed both governmental interference and newly discovered evidence that could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. Both claims allege violations of recognized constitutional rights under Amendments Five, Six, Eight and Fourteen. Both claims allege the prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory material evidence and the presentation of false evidence in contravention of the right to a fair trial and due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution...

The newly discovered facts establish that the police as part of the prosecution were involved in obtaining false material testimony against Petitioner at trial. The result compromised not only his fair trial rights, but led to a death judgment that violated the very essence of the Eighth Amendment.


CONCLUSION


The declaration of Yvette Williams discloses that Cynthia White told her that she lied on the stand because she feared reprisals from the police if she refused to do so. The declaration of Kenneth Pate reveals that Priscilla Durham lied in testifying against Petitioner because she was pressured to so by the police. The witnesses' fears, created by the prosecution through the police, not only explain the false testimony but also why the witnesses did not come forward. The prosecutor in Petitioner's trial had an absolute obligation to disclose the threats and efforts to suborn perjury. . . . By suppressing exculpatory evidence which included the fact that (a) a witness was persuaded to lie that she had witnessed the homicide, and (b)another was encouraged to manufacture a false confession attributed to Petitioner, contravened the right to a fair trial, due process of law, and a fair penalty trial, guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On August 21, 2008, the Philadelphia District Attorney filed a brief in opposition to the relief we seek on procedural grounds, that prior counsel failed to raise the issues in a timely manner. Even though the Supreme Court considers only an incredibly small number of cases at this stage, we remain hopeful in view of the prosecution's egregious misconduct.

Later in the year we will be going separately before the Supreme Court concerning the denial of an entirely new trial by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Third Circuit. That court did grant a new jury trial on the question of penalty, life or death. Nonetheless, we are pursuing an entirely new trial. The issue of racism in jury selection will be presented, along with the fact that the prosecutor made misrepresentations to the jury in order to obtain a murder conviction against Mumia.

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S.

For tax deductible donations to the legal defense, please make checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation (indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). They should be mailed to:

Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159-2012

Conclusion
I will not rest until Mumia is free. That he remains in prison and on death row is a travesty of justice and an affront to civilized standards. We must all continue to fight for what is right, and not lose hope. Free Mumia.

Yours very truly,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
RobertRBryan[AT]aol.com

Jericho 10th Anniversary National March

"One of the first steps we are going to become involved in as an Organization of Afro-American Unity will be to work with every leader and other organization in this country interested in a program designed to bring your and my problem before the United Nations ... We must take it out of the hands of the United States government."

– Malcolm X, Speech at Founding Rally of the OAAU,
28 June 1964


Jericho 10th Anniversary National March

Friday, October 10, 2008 @ 12 Noon

Moving Agitational Picket
1st Ave. from 42nd to 47th Sts.


Bring your banners, signs, noisemakers, drums, whistles, etc.

Simultaneous delegation to United Nations for meeting inside UN

Demand Freedom for Our Political Prisoners and POWs!


Evening Concert to Benefit the Prisoners
@ the Knitting Factory!

Saturday, October 11, 2008 @ 12 Noon



Rally at the Harlem State Office Building
@ 163 W. 125th Street (between Lenox & A.C. Powell)


March through Harlem @ 1 p.m.

Closing Rally Site TBA @ 3 p.m.

To download a pledge sheet with what YOU can do, click here!

9/19 Philly Memorial Tribute to Bro. Bashir Hameed!

LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF BASHIR HAMEED!
A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO A SOLDIER IN THE BLACK LIBERATION STRUGGLE

JOIN LOCAL PHILLY ACTIVISTS AS WE REMEMBER AND HONOR THE LIFE AND STRUGGLE OF BASHIR

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH
7:30PM
A-SPACE
4722 BALTIMORE AVE

BASHIR HAMEED was born and raised in New Jersey. In 1968, Bashir Hameed joined the Black Panther Party while residing in Oakland CA. Once he returned to New Jersey, he became Deputy Chairman of the New Jersey Chapter of BPP. FBI documents obtained during the 70's reveal that during this time Bashir became a COINTELPRO target. He was charged and convicted of the murder and the attempted murder of two police officers in April 1981. This conviction came as a direct result of his political activity. Bashir Hameed and his co-defendant, Abdul Majid were tried three times (Queens Two). Their first trial ended in a hung jury divided along racial lines, The second trial was declared a mistrial by the judge immediately after the jury rendered a decision that acquitted Bashir on the murder charge. At a third trial, they were eventually convicted for murder. Bashir was serving a sentence of 25 years to life, and recently suffered with pancreatic cancer.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
KHALID 267-632-9036
TIM 717-917-1165
EMAIL: PHILLYJERICHO@RISEUP.NET

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Screening Mumia: The Suppression of Dissent in America

By Linn Washington, Jr.

September 11, 2008

In presenting a compelling examination of the plight of death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal the documentary “In Prison My Whole Life” also probes one of the deeper contradictions of America: persistent suppression of dissent.

For a nation that extols the provisions of the First Amendment, politicians and police have histories of running roughshod over the rights of citizens to exercise their constitutional freedoms of speech, assembly and presenting grievances to government.

The recent actions against peaceful demonstrators and non-mainstream journalists by federal and local law enforcement personnel during the Republican National Convention in St Paul, Minnesota is yet another example of suppression of dissent.

Amnesty International is among the organizations condemning the assaults and arrests at the Republican Convention, terming that use of force and mass arrests excessive.

Amnesty International has officially endorsed “In Prison My Whole Life” – the first time this respected human rights organization ever placed its imprimatur on a film.

This well received documentary that premiered simultaneously last October 25th at the London and Rome Film Festivals focuses on the journey of one young man – William Francome – to discover more about the death row inmate arrested on the day he was born.

Francome’s birthday is December 9, 1981 – the day Abu-Jamal was arrested for murdering of a Philadelphia policeman. Francome’s American-born mother followed the Abu-Jamal case, reminding her son on each of his birthdays about the man languishing on death-row for a conviction based on what the AI report determined was a grossly unfair trial.

The film follows Francome across America from New York City to California’s Bay Area in his journey to discover more about the Abu-Jamal case and related issues like racism, class prejudice and suppression of dissent.

“In Prison My Whole Life” will have two screening in New York City at the Urbanworld Film Festival – on Thursday 9/11 and Saturday 9/13. Additionally, a screening is set for 9/26 at the CR10 Conference in Oakland, California.

The only previous US screening of this documentary occurred this past January during the Sundance Film Festival.

In 2000, Amnesty International authored the comprehensive yet concise report on the Abu-Jamal case that presented a unique examination of unethical and suspect conduct by the Pa Supreme Court in this controversial case – newsworthy material that the US news media buried.

Only two American daily newspapers carried articles on that news-laden AI report according to the NEXUS newspaper database and both of those articles were ‘news briefs.’ The news brief on the AI report published by the Philadelphia Inquirer in Abu-Jamal’s hometown was the fifth of six items in the B Section, listed below reporting on two non-fatal shootings, a small nightclub fire and a proposal to ban cell phone use while driving.

The Abu-Jamal case is fraught with suppression of dissent.

Incidents of suppression include the well publicized 1994 action by police and politicians forcing NPR to cancel airing prison commentaries by the award-winning journalist, the little known 2000 federal imprisonment of a leading Abu-Jamal activist for speaking at an anti-death penalty rally during the GOP national convention held that year in Philadelphia and 2007 strong-arming by Philadelphia’s police union to block a pro-Abu-Jamal program.

Francome’s “In Prison My Whole Life” interviews include Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Mos Def, Snoop Dog and Alice Walker – famed persons who’ve endured violations of their First Amendment rights.

This documentary also presents the first film interview with Abu-Jamal’s brother, Billy Cook. The slain officer’s beating of Cook during a traffic stop allegedly triggered the shooting. Cook shows a head scar he still carries from that beating. Cook also confirms the presence of his close friend long suspected by some as the person who fatally shot the officer.

Producers for the documentary are acclaimed British actor Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli who enlisted renowned director Marc Evans.

Producer Livia Giuggioli, during a recent interview with Hans Bennett, said intense passions displayed by advocates and enemies of Abu-Jamal is one of the things that interested them about pursuing this project.

“This is what really fascinated us all when we started to approach the subject and research,” said Giuggioli who lives in London.

“If you detach everything from this “figure” you just find a man who has been a victim of politics more than anything else,” Giuggioli noted echoing a conclusion of the 2000 AI report that politics had polluted judicial rulings in the Abu-Jamal case.

“In Prison” presents extraordinary evidence pointing to Abu-Jamal’s innocence inclusive of crime scene photographs discovered in 2006 that contradict core elements of the prosecution’s case against the man whose written five books while on death row.

The photos, for example, show no bullet marks in the sidewalk where prosecutors declared Abu-Jamal shot into the sidewalk around the fallen officer three times before shooting him once in the face. The photos show no cab behind the officer’s squad car where prosecutors told jurors a cab driver observed the murder. Additionally, the photos show police tampering with evidence at the crime scene.

A consultant for the documentary, German professor Dr. Michael Schiffmann, located these photos shot by a Philadelphia news photographer who arrived at the shooting scene minutes after the crime.

Schiffmann published the 2006 book “Race Against Death” one of the two most thorough examinations of the Abu-Jamal case. The other book is “Killing Time” by Philadelphia-area investigative reporter Dave Lindorff. Both Schiffmann and Lindorff have “In Prison” appearances, walking Francome through various aspects of the Abu-Jamal case in Philadelphia.

“Hopefully the film will help people to think and realize that maybe there is more to the story,” Giuggioli said. “Until there is a proper new trial – Mumia is just a man who has been sitting in solitary confinement for 27-years and it is a disgrace.”

The Abu-Jamal case is presently heading for an appeal to the US Supreme Court after the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year rejected a request for a new hearing, principally on the issue of racial discrimination during the selection of the jury at Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial.

That Third Circuit ruling created new standards for jury discrimination appeals that are more stringent than standards established by the US Supreme Court. That 2000 Amnesty International report faulted courts for improperly creating new legal standards to deny justice to Abu-Jamal.

Linn Washington Jr. is a Philadelphia journalist who’s followed the Abu-Jamal case since 1981. Washington appears briefly in the “In Prison” documentary talking about police brutality in Philadelphia.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Benefit Birthday Bash for Leonard Peltier

From the Free Mumia Coalition NYC:

Join Friends of Leonard at the Brecht Forum on September 12 to celebrate his birthday!

We have it from a good source that Leonard will attempt to phone in during the festivities.

Food, cake, ice cream, t-shirt designs*, and fun with friends.

Friday Sept. 12, 7-10 pm
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets)


*Bring your own t-shirt (not the one you are wearing!) to paint on

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Save December 6th for an International Day of Solidarity with Mumia!

Save December 6th for an International Day of Solidarity with Mumia!

"I see no reason why we should not afford Abu-Jamal the courtesy of our precedents. Why we pick this case to depart from that reasoning I do not know."
- Judge Thomas Ambro

Once again the courts have ignored and changed precedents to illegally continue the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. In July the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against three issues that could have led to a new trial. One of the three judges on the panel, Judge Thomas Ambro, dissented against one of the rulings pointint out that it ignores precedent.

Other than the US Supreme Court this was the last appeal to have his conviction overturned. Without an outpouring of public protest, Mumia will either be executed or will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

International Day of Action on December 6th!
(December 9th marks 27 years of unjust imprisonment).

Save the date! Mass action in Philly on December 6th!

There will be actions in cities internationlly. Email icffmaj@aol.com and join the list serv to find out how to become involved.

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
www.freemumia.com 215.476.8812 icffmaj@aol.com

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC
P.O. Box 16, College Station, New York, NY 10030
212.330.8029 info@freemumia.com

Friday, September 05, 2008

Mumia Prepares new appeal

From InterPress Service:

RIGHTS-US: Death Row Activist Prepares New Appeal
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43773

By Adrianne Appel

BOSTON, Sep 3 (IPS) - Mumia Abu-Jamal rallied thousands of protesters in the U.S. city of Denver last week who were calling for the release of U.S. political prisoners.

In a recorded message for the crowds protesting outside the Democratic National Convention, journalist Abu-Jamal attacked U.S. foreign policy, the protection of "foreign despots" and war for "foreign pipelines".

Abu-Jamal made the recording from his death row prison cell at a time when his 26-year battle for freedom has reached a critical point.

He and his lawyer are preparing to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask it to rule on whether the lower courts have denied him justice because of racial bias.

The decision to go to the Supreme Court was taken after a federal appeals court in Philadelphia in July refused to reconsider an application for a new trial about his guilt or innocence, Robert R. Bryan, the head of Abu-Jamal's legal team, told IPS.

The application was first turned down by the appeals court last March.

Abu-Jamal, a journalist and political activist, was sentenced to death 26 years ago after being convicted of shooting dead a white Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

His case has been taken up by rights activists in the U.S. and abroad who have contested much of the evidence that was presented to secure his conviction. Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence.

"Racism continues to raise its ugly head in this country, and should have no place in our legal system," Bryan said after the appeal court's decision.

"Bigotry lingers [on] today in Philadelphia. It would be naive not to realise that this case continues to reek of politics and injustice."

"In America... people often go to the death chamber because of the incompetence of their lawyers," Bryan said.

"The indisputable facts are that the prosecutor [in the 1982 trial] engaged in racism in selecting the jury in this case," Bryan said. "We will not rest until Mumia is free."

Abu Jamal's Supreme Court petition will focus on a number of issues, including that black jurors were intentionally excluded from his [1982] trial. Studies have shown that white jurors are more ready to pass death sentences than jurors of colour.

It is uncertain whether the court will agree to hear the case, since only between 1 and 2 percent of petitions are heard each year.

But because the three appeal court judges were split two to one on the issue of racism in the jury selection, the Supreme Court might be more likely to hear the case to resolve the differences of opinion.

A Supreme Court ruling in favour of Abu-Jamal would mean that the appeals court would have to reconsider his request for a new trial about his guilt or innocence.

At the same time that the appeals court turned down Abu-Jamals's request for a new trial, it ruled that he deserved a trial limited to determining whether his sentence should be changed from death to life without the possibility of parole.

This appeals court ruling removed the immediate threat that Abu-Jamal will be executed, but it could be overturned.

Bryan is not satisfied with the narrow ruling of the appeals court. He wants a re-trial to prove Abu-Jamal's innocence.

The prosecution is also unhappy and is likely to file its own petition to the Supreme Court, asking it to overturn the appeals court ruling and order Abu-Jamal's sentence remains as death.

In an interview with IPS, Philadelphia district attorney Hugh Burns, the chief prosecutor, said he had not yet made a decision whether to petition the Supreme Court to send Abu-Jamal back to death row to await execution.

Burns said he was confident that racial bias had not influenced Abu-Jamal's original trial. He said it was "not possible" that significant errors had occurred during the trial.

If the Supreme Court refused to hear Abu-Jamal's appeal and agreed to the prosecution's request to reinstate the death penalty, the execution clock would start ticking again, Bryan said.

"Mumia remains very much on death row because this is still under review."

Mark Taylor, a coordinator of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal and professor of theology and culture at Princeton Theological Institute, said the Abu-Jamal case was a potential embarrassment to important state officials.

The Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, who would order the death warrant for Abu Jamal's execution, was a former chief prosecutor on the case. Ronald Castille, chief justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is a former prosecutor who worked to keep Abu-Jamal in prison. He did not remove himself when the state Supreme Court ruled on Abu-Jamal's case in February.

Taylor said his organisation would continue to hold workshops and teach-ins to keep the public informed and rally support for Abu-Jamal's release.

"We have to continue doing what we have been doing, educating the public about the details of the case and its significance to issues like the death penalty in America, and racism and police brutality and prisons," he said.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

PACK the Courtroom for Rebel Diaz this Wednesday!

THE FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION AND INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL STRONGLY URGE ALL WHO CAN TO ATTEND THE COURT HEARING FOR BROTHERS G1 AND RODSTARZ OF REBEL DIAZ, WHO WERE BRUTALLY ASSAULTED BY THE POLICE IN JUNE, WHILE THEY WERE QUESTIONING THE POLICE'S HARASSMENT OF A NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING IMMIGRANT STREET VENDOR. THE BROTHERS RECENTLY PERFORMED IN PHILADELPHIA ON JULY 4TH, IN SOLIDARITY WITH MUMIA, ONLY ADDING TO THEIR LONG LIST OF PERFORMANCES IN WHICH THEY ALWAYS MAKE CLEAR "WHICH SIDE" THEY ARE ON.
--------------------------------

This Wednesday September 3rd:

Support G1 and Rodstardz of Rebel Diaz
take a stand against police brutality and come out on
Wednesday September 3rd at 9 a.m.

Part MCP (Room 2-11C -

look them up under Venegas

Pack the
court room of the Bronx Criminal Court House
on 215 E. 161st St.

Bronx New York

Thank you

FILM ON MUMIA FEAT. MOS DEF, SNOOP DOG, ANGELA DAVIS AND OTHERS SCREENING IN NYC

In Prison My Whole Life, a new documentary on the case of Mumia, featuring:

Mumia, Mos Def, Alice Walker, Snoop Dog, Angela Davis, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky and MANY MORE!

will be screening in NYC this month of September.


Screening 1:
Thursday, Sept 11, 1:45pm
AMC Loews 34th St, Theatre # 11

Screening 2 (spotlight):
Saturday, Sept 13, 6:15pm
AMC Loews 34th St, Theatre # 9

LONG LIVE BROTHER BASHIR HAMID! LONG LIVE REVOLUTION!

It is with great sadness that we join the different organizations that have paid tribute to Brother Bashir Hameed who made his transition this past Saturday night, August 29th. Some of us first met Bashir in these last months of his life and were moved by his spiritual strength, intellectual clarity, and love for his family and people. We had hoped that the video that Bashir so wanted to do would be approved by the Department of Corrections before he passed, but that was not to happen.

Bashir's history as a militant activist in the Black Panther Party parallels so many of the other histories of our political prisoners of African descent. Born in New Jersey, after confronting the racism of the colleges he attended and that of the US Army, he moved to the Bay Area and in his own words "fell in love with the Black Panther Party". Later, he was sent back to New Jersey to try to rebuild the BPP which had already been decimated by the US government and local police. Within two years, he was either in jail or facing imprisonment for up to 20 years, all for doing regular BPP work, distribution of the party newspaper, the breakfast program, and political education. He ended up spending four years in Trenton State Prison and upon release was immediately again targeted. The Queens 2 case, which included Abdul Majid and himself, involved the alleged killing of two policemen in Queens. Their first trial ended in a hung jury, the second was declared a mistrial with 8 to 4 for "not guilty", and the last involved very questionable witnesses and finally led to the conviction the state wanted, and a sentence of 30+ years to life, with the recommendation that Bashir and Abdul never be paroled.

We say to Bashir's family, to his wife, and to all those who loved and admired him, that Bashir will not be forgotten. Just this past Sunday, at the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hip hop concert, hundreds of young people learned about who Bashir is, were very moved by Brother Dhoruba's tribute to him, and cheered with great respect as each hip hop artist began his/ her performance with an individual dedication to Bashir. Would that Bashir had heard this in his lifetime, but he knew he would be remembered, and showed that confidence in his last days. Revolutionaries never die!

We extend our condolences to Bashir's devoted mother, Mrs. York, to his son, his sister, his niece (who became a doctor with the encouragement and prodding of her incarcerated uncle and who monitored his medical care in the last years of his life when he faced several serious medical conditions), and to his wife, Florence, who left her home in Texas to spend these last months by her husband's side.

In loving revolutionary memory,

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)