Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Legal Update on Mumia Abu-Jamal from Attorney Robert Bryan

Dear Friends:

October 10 was World Day Against the Death Penalty. I am in The Netherlands at the invitation of Amnesty International. On Friday I gave a lecture at a prestigious law school to a wonderful group of students on behalf of Mumia. Yesterday I spoke at the showing of In Prison My Whole Life, sponsored by Amnesty, concerning my client and the death penalty. Mumia is now a global symbol in the campaign against the death penalty.

I am presenting litigating the issue of the death penalty in the United States Supreme Court. Last year we won a new jury trial in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. The state has gone to to the Supreme Court seeking a reversal of that ruling and the execution of my client. We are presently litigating the matter. Next week the court will hear arguments in an older case from Ohio, Smith v. Spisak, which has a similar issue.

There is a new effort underway to destroy the support for Mumia, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for nearly three decades. The government's purpose is to kill him. This is the most dangerous time for Mumia since his 1981 arrest. I am fighting for his life. The support of the movement in Germany is crucial to the fight to save and free him.

Der Spiegel magazine published an article on 24 August 2009 which contained misquotes, distortions, false facts, and outright lies. Under influence from the right wing, it was a clear effort to promote the government effort to kill Mumia. The reporter could not even get right the simple fact of where I live in San Francisco, writing stupidly that Pacific Heights is an "alternative area." It states that Mumia was a high school drop out, overlooking the fact that he finished, attended university, and now has two university degrees: a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College; a Master of Arts from California State University. She falsely stated that Mumia was not working as a journalist at the time of his arrest. Her description of the homicide scene was wrong. In a transparent effort to destroy raising needed funds for the defense, the reporter lied in writing that one million dollars has been raised. In fact the defense has no money - we are broke and thus cannot do things needed for Mumia; the reporter was aware of this. She criticized Mumia because he must wait until a new jury trial to explain in court what happened at the time of the shooting.

This week Reporters Without Borders, headquartered in Paris, published a video interview regarding Mumia's case and the latest case developments. It is in English, French and German, and can be found at: http://www.rsf.org/spip.php?page=article&id_article=34689

Finally, last spring at the Akademie der K√ľnste I announced that we would be issuing an online petition for Mumia. He and I decided to wait until this month for its release. It will be coming soon.

You in Germany have been wonderful in the outpouring of your concern for Mumia. At this crucial time your activism is needed more than ever.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Netherlands