Monday, October 06, 2008

US Supreme Court rejects new trial for former Black Panther

Monday, October 6, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) The US Supreme Court Monday refused to hear arguments for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther accused of killing a police officer, who has become an international symbol for the fight against capital punishment.

His lawyer Robert Bryan has already said he will seek to bring a second Supreme Court appeal for the 54 former radio journalist accused of the 1981 murder, this time for racism.

Abu-Jamal's death sentence was overturned in March by a federal court in Philadelphia, which voted two-to-one to uphold his conviction, which now automatically becomes a life sentence unless prosecutors bring him back before a jury.

But Bryan has said he will not rest until client is freed. "Even though the federal court granted a new trial on the question of the death penalty, we want a complete reversal of the conviction," Byran said in July.

Abu-Jamal has argued he was denied a fair trial in 1982 because the prosecution barred 10 qualified African-Americans from sitting on the jury, which in the end consisted of 10 whites and two blacks.

The Philadelphia appeals court had rejected his arguments on lack of evidence of any racist intent on the part of the prosecution.

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