Monday, November 03, 2008

GRANMA: Mumia Abu Jamal and the Death Penalty

Thanks to Marpessa Kupenda, who passed this along to the Mumia list serv, and to Walter Lippman, who passed it on to her (see Walter's info below):

October 30, 2008


“Right now we’re at a crossroads in the case. His life is at stake,” says Robert Bryan the primary lawyer of the renowned African-American journalist.

Deisy Francis Mexidor

Death row in Pennsylvania has twice as many black people as whites, something that doesn’t reflect the demographic composition of that US state. The 228 convicts spend 23 hours a day in small solitary cells. They must wear shackles outside their cells, even in the showers. Philadelphia is the leader of the death penalty business.

African-American journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, perhaps the most well known prisoner of the 3,500 sentenced to death and languishing in US jails notes, “Many cases that would be considered third degree or even volunteer manslaughter, or not guilty in other counties, become first degree murder or death penalty cases in Philly.” He says that this is so because the entire political system of the city was constituted around the death penalty.

His defense seeks to get the US Supreme Court to annul the murder conviction ruled in 1982. It has been clearly demonstrated that the projectiles that killed police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 didn’t come from Abu Jamal’s weapon. He was accused because of the color of his skin and with the manipulation of facts.

In 2001, the Judge revoked the death sentence. His ruling was backed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in March this year. However, an announcement has been made that the District Attorney’s Office managed to re-impose the death penalty on Mumia. Another ingredient added to the long list of irregularities and arbitrariness committed in the case.

A few days ago, Mumia’s defense lawyer, Robert R. Bryan, wrote a legal update that was published on the Internet. “More activism and support is needed in the campaign to free Mumia from the death penalty and prison. It is an affront to civilized standards and international law that he remains in prison and on death row. We must have hope and fight for justice," he said.

The defense has until December 19 to present its arguments in opposition to the current decision.

Mumia, for his part, explains that “It’s profoundly unfair at its very foundation. If you pick a jury that is fundamentally unfair, you can only get a fundamentally unfair result." He also alerts: "There are many people who — because of what they read in the paper — firmly believe I am no longer on death row. I have read articles to that effect. Unfortunately, those articles are misleading. I have never left death row for one day. I am on death row."

That’s justice, made in the USA.

Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
"Cuba - Un ParaĆ­so bajo el bloqueo"

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