Follow workers.org on
RED HOT: TRAYVON MARTIN
AFGHANISTAN, FIGHTING RACISM, OCCUPY WALL STREET,
PEOPLE'S POWER, SAVE OUR POST OFFICES, WOMEN, AFRICA,
LIBYA, WISCONSIN WORKERS FIGHT BACK, SUPPORT STATE & LOCAL WORKERS,
EGYPT, NORTH AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST,
STOP FBI REPRESSION, RESIST ARIZONA RACISM, NO TO FRACKING, DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION, ANTI-WAR,
CUBA, CLIMATE CHANGE,
JOBS JOBS JOBS,
STOP FORECLOSURES, IRAN,
IRAQ, CAPITALIST CRISIS,
IMMIGRANTS, LGBT, POLITICAL PRISONERS,
No justice, no peace! Until Mumia Abu-Jamal is released!
Published Apr 24, 2008 2:25 AM
Over a thousand people voiced their collective outrage here April 19 that
political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was once again denied the right to a fair
hearing by an injustice system determined to keep this innocent man imprisoned
for life if it can’t silence him outright through execution.
Philadelphia, April 19.
Protesters filled all four corners of a major intersection near the Federal
Court building for a brief rally before marching around the Liberty Bell and up
Market Street to City Hall for a closing rally. Along the way the march stopped
for street meetings where speakers explained the case to passers-by.
The demonstrators filled all four lanes of Market Street, bringing traffic on
this busy downtown street to a halt for over an hour. Drivers of stalled buses
eagerly received materials to read about the case.
Groups of students in Philadelphia for class trips also stopped to listen. One
teacher tried to keep students from taking handouts about the case. When a
protester pointed out that the teacher was trying to keep them from getting
information, one student responded, “Yeah, it happens all the
Another teacher, however, encouraged her students to take literature and asked
questions about the case so the youth could get a better understanding.
In addition to a strong turnout from Philadelphia, protesters came from Boston,
New York City, California and there was also a delegation from France.
Solidarity demonstrations also took place in other countries.
A threatened counterprotest by neo-Nazi skinheads turned out to be a dozen or
so white men who looked more like off-duty police. The pro-Mumia protesters did
not allow them to disrupt and passed them by without incident.
Denied fair trial
Cynthia McKinney and
On March 27, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied
Abu-Jamal’s appeal of racism in jury selection, going against its own
precedent on this issue. The appellant court panel also rejected appeals
concerning prosecutorial misconduct and pro-prosecution judicial bias that
could have led to a new trial.
Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther Party activist, has been on
Pennsylvania’s death row for 26 years in connection with the shooting
death of a Philadelphia police officer.
The panel also upheld a 2001 ruling by Federal Judge William Yohn that
overturned the death sentence in this case. Philadelphia District Attorney
Lynne Abraham can still call for a new penalty-phase jury trial to attempt to
reinstate a death sentence.
Abu-Jamal’s lawyer is refusing to accept the ruling against a new trial
that could determine guilt or innocence. Instead, the attorney, Robert R.
Bryan, is now appealing to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and if
necessary, he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The strong outpouring of support for Mumia comes at a crucial time. It follows
earlier protests in cities around the country in the aftermath of this judicial
panel’s outrageous decision. Even one of the panel’s members, Judge
Thomas Ambro, took strong exception in a 41-page dissent strongly criticizing
his colleagues for denying Abu-Jamal the courtesy of their own legal precedents
concerning racism in jury selection.
‘Keep on fighting’
Rally speakers included former U.S. Congressmember Cynthia McKinney, who is
currently running for president of the United States and who has long been an
advocate for Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners.
Attorney Lynne Stewart, currently appealing her own conspiracy conviction,
challenged people to “keep on fighting.” Stewart pointed out that
while this case goes through the courts there is a tremendous amount of work
for people to do in fundraising and getting out publicity on the case.
Larry Holmes, of the International Action Center and the recently formed Ad Hoc
Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions, stressed the need for solidarity to
free brother Mumia, and to stop the onslaught of economic attacks against poor
and working people evidenced by widespread foreclosures, evictions and
WW photos: Greg Butterfield,
Gary Wilson and Betsy Piette
Pam Africa of the MOVE organization and International Concerned Family and
Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal challenged the courts to release Mumia now on the
grounds that they have consistently denied his right to a fair trial. “We
have absolutely no faith in the judicial system,” she said, “but if
Mumia does have a court proceeding, we’ll continue to mobilize and pack
the courtroom and the streets. However, if Mumia gets justice, we know it will
not come from the courts, only from the pressure generated by the
¡Sí, se puede! – Free Mumia!
Latin@s for Mumia brought two buses from New York, and Esperanza Martell of
ProLibertad Freedom Campaign had the crowd cheering as she exclaimed:
“Mumia is Dominican! Mumia is Puerto Rican! Mumia is Mexicano! Mumia is
all of us! ¡Sí, se puede! (Yes we can) Free Mumia!”
Political prisoner and Lakota activist Leonard Peltier, recently moved to a
federal prison in Pennsylvania, sent a message of solidarity in which he
stated: “We are one, and we are many. We are forever, we are timeless. We
are Crazy Horse, we are Geronimo, we are Mumia, we are Leonard Peltier, we are
Malcolm X, and we are Martin Luther King. ... We are the American Indian
Movement, we are the Black Panthers, we are MOVE, we are the Viet Cong, we are
the Irish Republican Army, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
“We are every man, woman and child who desires to see a sunrise in a land
of freedom and opportunity, a land of plenty and not hunger, a land of choices
without fear, a land of progress without brutality.”
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news DONATE