Saturday, April 25, 2009

!Mexico City Activists Use Obama Visit to Fight for Mumia!

Hey all,

yesterday we improvised a small action in support of Mumia that got a fair amount of mainstream radio coverage. Obama is here, visiting with Calderón, and we went to the National Auditorium, right by the gates of Campo Marte, the military camp where his helicopter landed to deliver a letter urging him to take a stand for justice and freedom in the case of Mumia and other pps. Of course they didn't let us in to deliver the letter, and who knows if Obama will ever find out we were there, but we put it up on the independent media sites and did get an abbreviated version in the "letters to the editor" section of the mainstream, semi-leftist La Jornada newspaper. There's been so much hype in the press for the last week about all the heavy duty security measures that it was hard to figure out where we could be, or if were were going to be able to get through the police /military lines at all. And all the propaganda about 6,000 police and soldiers, sharpshooters, helicopters, searches of anyone in the zone, etc. definitely had a chilling effect on the turnout. There were only thirteen of us, but to our surprise, the access was pretty easy, and we got a kick out of it because the press never comes to our demonstrations, but today we got there early and they were hanging around waiting for Obama, so they all came over to talk to us. As we pretty much expected, the mainsteam tv stations and newspapers ended up doing official promo, but for a while some of our interviews were buzzing around on the radio stations. So we ended up feeling pretty good about it. Will send some pics as soon as I get them.


Here goes the English version of the letter, followed by the Spanish.

Dear President Obama:

On your first visit to Mexico, today April 16, we are writing to urge you to take a stand for justice and freedom in the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. It’s shameful that this acclaimed journalist and writer is still held in degrading, inhuman conditions on death row 27 years after his arrest on December 9, 1981! And it’s even more shameful that the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of the United States, just broke its own precedents in its zeal to deny him the new trial he was seeking to establish his innocence in the killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner!

We are among hundreds of thousands of people in the world who share Mumia Abu-Jamal’s struggle for a better world. We greatly appreciate his weekly columns and the six books he’s written during his time on death row. We admire his dignity and steadfastness and want to see him free.

As of now, the Supreme Court has not responded to the District Attorney’s petition to reinstate the death penalty, thrown out in 2001 by federal Judge William Yohn, who ruled that it would be necessary to hold a sentencing hearing in the event that the DA moved to reinstate the death penalty. His ruling was sustained by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in May of 2008. But now the Philadelphia D. A. intends to kill him without even so much as a hearing, in collaboration with the Fraternal Order of Police and public officials who will only be satisfied with his head. What do you think about the threat of a modern-day lynching, President Obama?

President Obama, your victory was celebrated all over the world as a great step against racism, but as of yet, you haven’t denounced the fact that 41% of all the prisoners in the United States and 41.9% of those on death row are African Americans although they only represent 12.3% of the total population. Of all the political prisoners held in your country, over half are African Americans. In their political trials, racism was a major factor. This was definitely true in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, where D. A. Joseph McGill used 10 of his 15 peremptory challenges to exclude black candidates from the jury, and where Judge Albert Sabo was overheard commenting to his clerk, “I’m going to help them fry the nigger”!

During your campaign, you promised to put an end to torture and civil rights violations. You also took a stand for the freedom of political prisoners in Burma, including that of political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. But we haven’t heard you utter a single word of support for Mumia Abu-Jamal or more than a hundred other political prisoners who have spent decades of torture, isolation, and denigrating conditions in the dungeons of your own country, condemned for their political activism. There they are-- Leonard Peltier, the MOVE 9, the San Francisco 8, the Angola 3, the Puerto Rican independence fighters, “los Cinco”, the anti-imperialists, the Chicano activists, the environmentalists, the animal rights defenders, and the opponents of the terrible School of the Americas, along with so many more. Neither have we heard you make a call for the freedom of more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners who endure constant torture in Israel’s extermination camps.

As a matter of fact, when the right wing columnist Michael Smerconish asked you about Mumia Abu-Jamal during your campaign, you said you didn’t know much about his case, but that anyone who kills a cop deserves the death penalty or life in prison. (Philadelphia Inquirer, October 10, 2008). Are we to believe that a defender of human rights like yourself knows little or nothing about the case of one of the most widely supported political prisoners in the world and is not aware of all the violations of his constitutional rights during his trial, which have been duly registered by a long list of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International?

Please don’t tell us that you agree with the political motives of the Fraternal Order of Police and politicians like Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, District Attorney Lynn Abraham, and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. These public officials who incriminated Mumia Abu-Jamal of homicide are the very people who are still in power and block every attempt to achieve justice and freedom in his case. You couldn’t possible believe that his membership in the Black Panther Party in the ‘60s and his sympathy with the MOVE organization constitute a crime, could you?

President Obama, you have a great opportunity to act on behalf of justice and freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all the political prisoners in your country. What do you intend to do?

Amig@s de Mumia, México

Estimado presidente Obama:

Aprovechamos su visita a México el 16 de abril, para instarle a pronunciarse por la justicia y libertad en el caso del preso político Mumia Abu- Jamal. Es vergonzoso que este aclamado periodista y escritor sigue en el corredor de la muerte 27 años después de su detención el 9 de diciembre de 1981, bajo condiciones inhumanas y denigrantes, y aún más vergonzoso que la corte más alta de la nación, la Suprema Corte de Estados Unidos, acaba de romper su propios precedentes en su afán de negarle un nuevo juicio para comprobar su inocencia en el asesinato del policía Daniel Faulkner.

Somos cientos de miles de personas en el mundo que compartimos la lucha de Mumia Abu-Jamal para un mundo mejor. Apreciamos sus columnas
semanales y los seis libros que él ha escrito desde el corredor de la muerte. Apreciamos su dignidad y congruencia, y queremos verlo libre.

Hasta la fecha, la Suprema Corte no ha respondido a la petición de la fiscalía para reimponer la pena de muerte, rechazada por el juez federal William Yohn en el 2001, quien había dictado que sería necesario celebrar una audiencia para determinar su sentencia en el evento de que la fiscalía quisiera reimponer la pena de muerte. Su dictamen fue avalado por el Tribunal Federal de Apelaciones del Tercer Circuito en mayo del 2008. Pero ahora la fiscalía de Filadelfia pretende ejecutarlo sin audiencia alguna con el respaldo del sindicato de policías y de las autoridades públicas que=2 0piden su cabeza. ¿Qué opina de la amenaza de un linchamiento moderno, presidente Obama?

Presidente Obama, su victoria fue celebrada en todas partes del mundo como un gran avance contra el racismo, pero hasta ahora usted no ha denunciado la situación de que 41% de todos los presos en Estados Unidos y 41.9% de los condenados a la muerte son africano-americanos aunque representan sólo 12.3% de la población total del país. De los presos políticos, más de la mitad son de la población africano-americana. En sus juicios políticos, el racismo fue un gran factor. Éste también fue el caso en el juicio de Mumia Abu-Jamal, en el cual el fiscal Joseph McGill usó 10 de sus 15 vetos perentorios para excluir a los candidatos negros del jurado y el juez Albert Sabo dijo: “Les voy a ayudar a freír el nigger”.

Durante su campaña electoral, usted se pronunció por un fin a los abusos de las libertades civiles y al régimen de tortura. También se pronunció por la libertad de los presos políticos de Burma, inclusive la presa política Aung San Suu Kyi. Pero no escuchamos una sola palabra suya en apoyo a Mumia Abu-Jamal o más de cien otros presos y presas políticos que han pasado décadas de tortura, aislamiento y condiciones denigrantes en las mazmorras de Estados Unidos, condenados por su activismo político. Ahí están Leonard Peltier, “los 9 de MOVE”, “los 8 de San Francisco”, “los 3 de Angola”, los independentistas puertorriqueños, “los 5 cubanos”, los anti-imperialistas, los activistas chicanos, los ecologistas, los defensores de animales, los opositores al terrible Escuela de las Américas, y tantos otros. Tampoco escuchamos un llamado suyo por la libertad de más de 10,000 presos políticos palestinos que aguantan las torturas en los campos de exterminación de Israel.

De hecho, cuando el columnista derechista Michael Smerconish le preguntó sobre Mumia Abu-Jamal durante su campaña, usted dijo que no sabía mucho sobre el caso, pero que “si alguien mata a un policía, él merece la pena de muerte o cadena perpetua” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 de octubre, 2008). ¿Debemos creer que un defensor de los derechos humanos no conozca el caso de uno de los presos políticos con mayor apoyo popular en el mundo y que no conozca las múltiples violaciones de derechos constitucionales en su proceso, señaladas por una larga lista de grupos de derechos humanos, inclusive Amnistía Internacional?

¿Usted está de acuerdo con los motivos políticos de la Organización Fraternal de Policía y de oficiales como el gobernador de Pennsylvania, Edward G. Rendell, la fiscal Lynn Abraham, y el juez principal de la Suprema Corte del estado de Pennsylvania, Ronald D. Castille para incriminar a Mumia Abu-Jamal del homicidio? Ellos son los que siguen en poder y obstaculizan cualquier esfuerzo para lograr justicia y libertad en su caso. O ¿a caso cree usted que su militancia en los Panteras Negras en los años ’60 y su simpatía con la organización MOVE constituyen un crimen?

Presidente Obama, usted tiene la gran oportunidad de promover justicia y libertad para Mumia Abu-Jamal y todos los presos políticos de su país. ¿Qué piensa hacer al respecto?

Amig@s de Mumia, México

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