Friday, March 28, 2008

Free Mumia Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the people’s journalist, under threat of the death penalty for almost 27 years, remains in great danger. Yesterday, the 3rd Circuit court turned down his appeal, one based on substantial issues raised before the court. Instead, the three-judge panel in a 2 to 1 decision ruled that Mumia is only entitled to a hearing for re-sentencing to either life without parole or execution.

Mumia and all his supporters are fighting for no less than his complete freedom.

This means more than ever, that the political struggle, the mobilization of people across the United States and around the world, must be raised to a higher level.

If Mumia had received proper legal defense in his 1981 trial, if he had not been before the most notorious pro-death-penalty Judge Albert Sabo—who was heard by witnesses to say, “I’m going to help them fry the n___,”—Mumia could have been free.

Mumia should never have been arrested. In a super-racist climate like Philadelphia’s—with the lynch-mob mentality of the police force and the city’s firebombing of the Move organization and murder of 11 people—Mumia was unjustly arrested and convicted.

When a police officer is killed, the police always make someone pay by false conviction, by permanent imprisonment and more often, by the death penalty.

This is evidenced by the vengeful attitude of the government and the FBI, in relation to the death of two FBI agents who were killed on Pine Ridge Reservation on June 26, 1975. Native activists shot the agents in self-defense during an FBI raid on the reservation.

In the trial of Native activists that followed, three defendants were exonerated by jury trial in Rapid City, Iowa. The FBI decided that Leonard Peltier, who had escaped to Canada, would have to pay for the death of two FBI agents.

Leonard Peltier has paid for 32 years behind bars, 32 years of unjust imprisonment. We cannot stop demanding and supporting his fight for freedom until he is home with his loved ones.

In Mumia’s case, more evidence was recently discovered in which photographs taken at the scene of the crime prove the police mishandled and manipulated the evidence.

Yet, Mumia has been denied a new trial based mainly on procedural grounds that deadlines for appeals have expired. That is because the Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Law, signed by Clinton in 1996, severed restricted the rights of death-row inmates. The restrictions are so severe as to make it impossible to wage an effective appeal in the courts.

Imagine Mumia free. That must be our aim. The ongoing mobilizations and emergency protests in New York; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle; Portland, OR; and Los Angeles are all important actions in the struggle to free Mumia. As a next step, Mumia’s attorney Robert Bryan will file an appeal to the full panel of the Third Circuit.

Free Mumia Now!

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