Friday, June 26, 2009

WHAT YOU CAN DO to join the campaign to ensure Mumia his civil rights!


Now that the US Supreme Court has ruled that Mumia will not be granted a new trial or even a hearing on issues related to guilt or innocence, we have decided to launch a campaign to demand that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department conduct a civil rights investigation. Specifically, we are asking Holder and the Justice Department to assess the suppression of evidence that could have led to Mumia's acquittal, as well as the other egregious examples of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the 27- year court process.

The four currently planned components of this campaign are:

  1. A letter writing campaign to Eric Holder.

  2. A focus on getting the NAACP to actively support this campaign in line with its unfulfilled promise in its 2004 resolution when it "reiterated its support of the international movement for a new and fair trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal." WE WILL BE AT THE HILTON HOTEL IN NYC ON MONDAY, JULY 13 WHEN ERIC HOLDER WILL BE ADDRESSING THE CONVENTION.

  3. A day of lobbying of congressional representatives to support a civil rights investigation (letters are being sent and calls are being made to them to request appointments) on WEDNESDAY, JULY 22.

  4. A press conference is being scheduled for mid-September in Washington, DC. Details will be announced.

Things you can do to help this campaign:
  1. Sign the letter to attorney general Eric Holder online or download and mail to the FMAJC address as listed on the letter.

  2. Contact local NAACP chapters, and ask them to join us at the NAACP NATIONAL CONVENTION IN NYC ON MONDAY, JULY 13TH, to call on the organization to actively support this campaign

  3. Get your local congressional representative to endorse the campaign, to write his/her own letter or just sign onto the letter we are circulating. Let us know about the congressional representatives you are contacting by e-mailing us at or calling us at (212) 330-8029. JOIN US IN LOBBYING DAY ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22ND. We are providing a free bus from NYC, leaving at 5 am and returning by 10 pm. (If you need housing for the night before, let us know by calling or e-mailing to above contacts)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Congressional Reps Rangel and McKinney call for Investigation for Mumia!

from Hans Bennett:

Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and current U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, who is chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, have both released their open letters to US Attorney General Holder, calling for a federal civil rights investigation into the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Actions are being organized throughout the summer to support the campaign for a federal civil rights investigation, including at the upcoming NAACP convention in New York City, July 11-16. Organizers are focusing particularly on July 13, the day that Attorney General Holder will address the convention. Supporters will then be in Washington, D.C., on July 22 to lobby their elected officials and, in mid-September, they’ll return to Washington, D.C., for a major press conference.For more information on how you can support the campaign for a federal civil rights investigation and to sign the online letter and petition to Attorney General Holder, visit:

For more information on the campaign for the civil rights investigation, please read this week's SF Bay View Newspaper article:

Read the open letters from

Charles Rangel:

Cynthia McKinney:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Legal Update

Date: June 6, 2009
From: Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
Subject: Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row, Pennsylvania

Introduction In recent months there have been significant legal developments concerning my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for nearly three decades. We are presently litigating on his behalf in both the United States Supreme Court and the trial court, the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia.

Mumia's life on the line in this monumental struggle. He is in the greatest danger since his arrest in 1981.

Like so many on death row, Mumia has been a victim of poverty, racial bigotry, fraud, inadequate legal representation, and an unfair trial. The trial judge was a racist who referred to my client as a "nigger" whom he was going to help the prosecution "fry." Prior case lawyers failed to investigate and present pivotal issues both at trial and in the post-conviction process, thereby limiting what could be considered by the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. Below is a brief summary of case developments.

U.S. Supreme Court, Washington There have been two separate cases pending in the Supreme Court concerning Mumia. One involves strictly the death penalty, while the other concerns the prosecution's use of racism in jury selection.

Abu-Jamal v. Beard, U.S. Sup. Ct. No. 08-8483 This case related to the Philadelphia District Attorney's use of racism in selecting the jury that decided both the question of guilt and whether my client should die. The prosecutor used 66.67% of his available strikes to exclude African Americans from sitting on the jury. A judge in the lower federal court determined there was clear evidence that the prosecutor's strikes of black people was race-based and thus unconstitutional. The dissenting justice in a 2-1 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, found overwhelming evidence of racism by the prosecutor. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn, 520 F.3d 272 (3rd Cir. 2008).) He explained that the "core guarantee of equal protection, ensuring citizens that their State will not discriminate on account of race, would be meaningless were we to approve the exclusion of jurors on the basis of . . . race. . . . I respectfully dissent."

On April 6, 2009, the Supreme Court declined to hear our case. This came as a profound disappointment and shock, even though the court rejects 98-99% of cases presented for review. Mumia's case was exceptional, especially in view of the powerful dissenting decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals. Our strong constitutional position was bolstered by briefing from the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, which I had invited into the case to address the racism issue. Tragically the court turned its back on it own case law which held that racism in jury selection offends the U.S. Constitution and mandates a new trial. Our extensive briefing had laid out the overwhelming evidence establishing the prosecutor's race-based behavior and the racially-charged atmosphere of the trial. On May 1, I submitted a Petition for Rehearing which has been rejected.

Beard v. Abu-Jamal, Sup. Ct. No. 08-652 We are still litigating in the Supreme Court inm an entirely separate case in which the prosecution is seeking to overturn the victory achieved last year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In that ruling the court ordered a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. Both sides have gone back and forth in briefing in the Supreme Court. Due to developments in another case with a similar issue, it may be several months before Mumia's case is decided. If we win, then there will be a new jury trial. In the event of an adverse decision, the prosecution would push for a quick execution.

Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal, Nos. 1357-1359 On April 20, 2009, we filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus Relief in the trial court, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. At issue is the fact that Mumia was convicted on the basis of unreliable and incomplete expert ballistics testimony presented by the prosecution during the 1982 trial. We have also moved for discovery of all related evidence possessed by the prosecution.

Other Developments in Europe and the United States In this country t he support and activism of the National Lawyers Guild has been crucial on our work on behalf of Mumia. The cry for justice in the case of Mumia continues to be particularly strong in Europe. As an example, on May 17, 2009 a feature article datelined Paris appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. The piece is reprinted at the the end of this Legal Update and available online with photographs at: It describes the activism of committed French human-rights activists on behalf of Mumia which has drawn considerable attention in the U.S.

United States Many people have heard about the support for Mumia by the National Lawyers Guild, headquartered in New York with chapters across the country, but know little of the details. Since its founding in 1937 the NLG has provided legal support to a wide range of legal and social movements, starting with drafting New Deal legislation and aiding in the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and the United Auto Workers (UAW). It has actively supported labor rights and played a central role in defending individuals targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. NLG lawyers, legal workers and law students participated in the Civil Rights movement and opened "people's law offices" in the South. In the 1990s and into the new millennium the organization's scope widened to include protecting individual rights against the increasing dominance of corporations, legal defense at mass demonstrations, and training lawyers about developments in the law such as newly developing anti-terrorism legislation. The NLG aggressively opposes the death penalty, and many of its attorneys specialize in capital defense work. That included the legal effort to save Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed June 19,1953 in New York. Each year the NLG features a "Student Day Against the Death Penalty," and actively assists 100 student chapters in hosting public education events to raise awareness of the multitude of problems with the death penalty and to work toward its abolition. Law professor members and students have hosted hundreds of events featuring leading capital defense attorneys and former death-row inmates, and the NLG provides an organizing kit to students to help facilitate events against capital punishment.

Mumia's case has been a national priority of the NLG for over two decades. For many years he has served on the Board of Directors as Jailhouse Lawyer Vice President. At the annual conventions numerous resolutions have been passed seeking a new and fair trial and over the years the NLG has co-sponsored events around the country related to his case. Three years ago I invited the Guild to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on his behalf. Thereafter a brief was submitted on the issue of the death penalty and other issues by Heidi Boghosian, NLG Executive Director, a member professor from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and others in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Further, Ms Boghosian, an outstanding lawyer, has been active is assisting me in the representation of Mumia for many years, and has joined me in a number of client meetings. Mumia has enormous respect and trust for her and the NLG.

Germany In Berlin on March 27, the prestigious Akademie der Künst (Academy of Arts), located two doors from the U.S. Embassy at the Brandenburg Gate, hosted an outstanding panel discussion on Mumia as a journalist, author, and political prisoner. It originated from the efforts of the writer Sabine Kebir, PEN, and Nicole Bryan. The audience filled the auditorium. Participating in the human-rights event, was: Madame Danielle Mitterrand, former First Lady of France; Klaus Staeck, President of the Akademie; Johano Strasser, President of PEN Germany; Günter Wallraff, a well known author; Gerhart Rudolf Baum, former Minister of the Interior, the Bundestag (parliament), and United Nations representative; and me. A video of the entire event is available on the Internet, at: The commitment of supporters in Germany is a model of activism, especially those in Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen.

France The movement for Mumia in France is excellent. It is led by the Collectif "Ensemble Sauvons Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Together We Will Save Mumia Abu-Jamal), composed of approximately 80 organizations. In Prison My Whole Life, the outstanding film on Mumia, is being shown in theaters throughout the country and continues to draw acclaim at film festivals. In Paris on March 15, it was awarded the Grand Prix and the Planete Prix at the Film Festival of Human Rights (Le Festival International du Film des Droits de l'Homme). In my two speeches at the awards ceremony, I accepted the prizes not only on behalf of Mumia, but also "for all the men, women and children who are on death rows around the world." The movie was also featured at the Amnesty International, a past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a sponsor of the film. Claude Guillaumaud-Pujol, author of Mumia Abu-Jamal: The Voice of the Voiceless, and I spoke after each presentation. The movie was also featured in the Lyon International Film Festival last October. Mumia is grateful to Jacky Hortaut and the many supporters in France who do so much in the cause of justice.

Netherlands On April 3 and and 4, In Prison My Whole Life was shown at Amnesty International's Movies That Matter film festival in The Hague and Amsterdam. Nicole and I participated in both events. There was a panel discussion following each showing in which Arlette Stuip, who attended Goddard College with Mumia, Ms. Guillaumaud-Pujol, and I discussed the case and answered questions.

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S. Our legal effort is the front line of the battle for Mumia's freedom and life. His legal defense needs help. The costs are substantial for our litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the state level. To help, please make your checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation (indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). All donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Code Code, section 501(c)(3), and should be mailed to:

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

Conclusion It is outrageous and a violation of human rights that Mumia remains in prison and on death row. His life hangs in the balance. My career has been marked by successfully representing people facing death in murder cases. I will not rest until we win Mumia's case. Justice requires no less.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, CA 94123-4117

Friday, June 05, 2009



Write to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that he immediately initiate a civil rights investigation addressing a 27-year history of prosecutorial and judicial violations of Mumia Abu-Jamal's constitutional and international rights. If the Justice Department can guarantee justice for Senator Ted Stevens, it should do the same for noted journalist and multiple-award recipient, and international honoree Mumia Abu-Jamal. Demand that your elected officials endorse this campaign!

Initiated by the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)


On April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Mumia's appeal for a new trial based on evidence of racist jury selection on the part of the prosecutor during the original 1982 trial in Philadelphia. This appeal was based on the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court "Batson decision", a legal decision that says that prospective jurors cannot be selected based on their race.

This issue was considered the strongest basis for overturning Mumia's conviction, though certainly not the only one. According to Amnesty International's detailed review of the case, Mumia was denied at his trial in 1982 the right to a fair judge and unbiased jury, the right to represent himself and the right to adequate resources to prepare his defense. In addition, the prosecution withheld critical evidence from the defense, judge and jury; suborned the perjury of its chief witness; and intimidated at least one other witness to perjure herself. Since the AI report, more evidence has emerged of an ongoing conspiracy by the prosecution and members of the judiciary to keep out of the legal record evidence that points to Mumia's innocence. At the very least, this evidence indicates serious misconduct on the part of the prosecution and judiciary. It was precisely this kind of misconduct that led to the overturning, just two weeks ago, of the conviction of Senator Ted Stevens.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of Mumia's appeal on the basis of the "Batson decision" shocked many legal observers, as the court set new and higher standards of appeal in complete violation of its own precedents. One of the members of the three-judge panel that arrived at this decision wrote a scathing 41-page dissent pointing to how Mumia was not granted the same rights that previous appellants were given by this very same court.

Please take a few minutes to read, sign and circulate widely the important letter below to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Send copies to other officials demanding that they, too, demand a civil rights investigation. Only a powerful, international campaign can win long-overduefreedom for this outspoken, award-winning journalist and stop a 27-year-old conspiracy to silence him with legal lynching or life in prison without parole. Both options are outrageous violations of Mumia's human and constitutional rights, and we will not allow them to stand. Mumia needs our movement and our movement needs Mumia.


If you wish to send this via regular mail, feel free to use the following:

US Department of Justice
Washington, DC

April 2009

To Eric Holder, US Attorney General:

We write to you with a sense of grave concern and outrage about the US Supreme Court's denial of a hearing to Mumia Abu-Jamal on the issue of racial bias in jury selection, that is, the "Batson issue". Inasmuch as there is no other court to which Abu-Jamal can appeal for justice, we turn to you for remedy of a 27- year history of gross violations of US constitutional law and international standards of justice as documented by Amnesty International and many other legal groups around the world.

We call on you and the Justice Department to immediately commence a civil rights investigation to examine the many examples of egregious and racist prosecutorial and judicial misconduct dating back to the original trial in 1982 and continuing through to the current inaction of the US Supreme Court. The statute of limitations should not be a factor in this case as there is very strong evidence of an ongoing conspiracy to deny Abu-Jamal his constitutional rights.

We are aware of the many differences that exist between the case of former Senator Ted Stevens and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Still, we note with great interest the actions you have taken with regard to Senator Stevens' conviction to assure that he not be denied his constitutional rights. You were specifically outraged by the fact that the prosecution withheld information critical to the defense's argument for acquittal, a violation clearly committed by the prosecution in Abu-Jamal's case. Mumia Abu-Jamal, though not a US senator of great wealth and power, is a Black man revered around the world for his courage, clarity, and commitment and deserves no less than Senator Stevens.


(Your signature will be appended here based on the contact information you enter in the online form)


International Campaign for Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Sponsored by:

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)

P.O. Box 16, College Station
New York, N.Y. 10030
(212) 330-8029

International Concerned Family and Friends of MumiaAbu-Jamal
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 476-8812

Millions for Mumia

International Action Center
c/o Solidarity Center
55 West 17th St 5C
New York, NY 10011

For further information call: (212) 633-6646