There is growing international support for the freedom of U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been imprisoned in Pennsylvania for over 40 years. Mumia was falsely accused of killing a white police officer in December 1981 in Philadelphia. He was convicted of first-degree murder on July 3, 1982, following a sham trial. Mumia spent years on death row awaiting execution until December 2011, when he was released to a minimum security prison. Mass pressure in the streets has stopped the state from executing him twice.
The suppression of important exculpatory evidence, including the racist exclusion of Black jurors during his original trial, has for decades prevented him from being granted a new trial that would eventually lead to his freedom. That could all eventually change now.
A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge ruled on Dec. 16, 2022, that Mumia’s lawyers had the right to examine at least 200 boxes of this critical hidden evidence, which could prove that there was a conspiracy to permanently silence him, because of his revolutionary political beliefs. The judge announced a 60- to 90-day extension to all prosecuting attorneys to provide this evidence.
Actions took place on Feb. 16 inside the U.S. and worldwide, 60 days after the judge’s ruling, to put pressure to release these boxes to Mumia’s lawyers. Besides activists organizing inside the U.S. to allow this evidence to see the light of day, the General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa, Irvin Jim, put out a special plea on Twitter and on youtube to demand that Mumia be set free as a political prisoner due to wrongful arrest. Jim called for an international campaign to win justice for Mumia.
Representatives of Hoshino Defense Committee, Osaka Defense Committee and the National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba prepared a list of demands to present to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan in Tokyo on Feb. 16 to be sent to the U.S. government.
The three groups who make up the International Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba reported in a press release: “On the way there, police officers and plainclothes formed a blocking line and refused to let us through. When we protested persistently, a plainclothes officer connected us to the U.S. Embassy with his phone. The Embassy officer refused even posting our letter to the embassy’s post box. We approached nearer to the embassy and held a rally for Mumia’s freedom. The letter was sent by mail with delivery certificate.”
The demands sent were:
- “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, who suffers from deteriorated health conditions caused by 41 years of incarceration!
- Free Mumia NOW! He is innocent. Fair retrial could be held thereafter; and
- Abolish racial discrimination in jury selection! Do not exclude Black and Brown persons!”
Mumia supporters in Berlin, Germany, mobilized on a day’s notice in front of the U.S. Embassy Feb. 16. Almost 30 people came and chanted slogans and held up banners right in front of the embassy.