Mumia turns 70 on April 24

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will turn 70 on April 24.  This important life milestone will be observed in Philadelphia with an afternoon demonstration outside City Hall and District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office.  Also, 1,000 petitions, collected in France, will be delivered to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s satellite office, demanding that Mumia be released to rejoin his family and to seek necessary medical care. 

An evening indoor gathering will be held at the historic Waters Memorial AME Church at 11th and South streets. 

An innocent man, Mumia has been incarcerated for nearly 42 years, including 28 of them on death row. He is a veteran Philadelphia Black Panther, radical radio journalist, grandfather and foremost revolutionary thinker and writer. Mumia is a loving movement elder who uplifts struggles worldwide with his powerful voice and writings. At 15, he was a Black Panther newspaper journalist, and later he was an award-winning Philadelphia radio journalist.

Mumia has made thousands of radio commentaries from prison and written more than a dozen books, including “We Want Freedom,” “Live from Death Row,” “Jailhouse Lawyers” and “All Things Censored.” 

He co-authored three volumes of “Murder Incorporated,” a searing critique of U.S. imperialism. His writings are extraordinarily political and deeply moving. Mumia is a victim of racism, targeted by the police and FBI in its war on Black people and Black freedom movements.

The years of incarceration have taken a toll on his health. Recent campaigns by supporters succeeded in pressuring the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to finally comply with medical directives from his doctors for proper exercise and a heart-healthy diet.

Appeal denied

Just over a year ago, his quest for a new trial and freedom were dealt a setback when Judge Lucretia Clemons from the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas dismissed his appeal. Following in the bloody footsteps of her predecessor, racist hanging-judge Albert Sabo, on March 31, 2023, Clemons filed notice of her intent to dismiss Mumia’s appeal petition, upholding this decision on April 3, 2023, despite global calls for justice in his case.

Since her initial notice of intention to dismiss Mumia’s current appeal on Dec. 16, 2022, thousands of people signed petitions, wrote letters and passed resolutions on Mumia’s behalf directed to Clemons. 

Supporters include the 20-million-member International Transport Workers’ Federation and various political leaders. In December 2022, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent filed an amicus brief on Mumia’s behalf. 

Mumia, his family and his supporters around the world had every reason and right to hope that all their hard work would pay off in persuading Clemons to follow and apply the law, as has been done in other cases involving Brady and Batson violations. 

But as journalist Linn Washington Jr. has warned so many times in the past: “The fact that state and federal judges have consistently upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction is cited as solid confirmation of his guilt. Brushed aside is the fact that judges have upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction by skirting established legal procedure (precedence), creating new legal standards that undercut Abu-Jamal’s claims and rejecting newly discovered evidence of improprieties by police, prosecutors and even judges.” (WHYY, Dec. 9, 2022)

Despite Clemons’ rulings, the appeal process is not over for Mumia. His attorneys are currently awaiting decisions from higher state courts on additional legal filings in his case. 

Palestine solidarity

Given the severity of the struggle against Israeli/U.S. genocide in Gaza, organizers for Mumia’s birthday observation plan a program that links the struggle for his freedom with global fightback movements against imperialism, the racist, settler-colonial occupation of Palestine and more.

Several speakers will address the global fight to support the Palestinian resistance and to free Palestine. More information can be found at linktr.ee./Mumia.

Free Mumia!  Free Palestine!

 

Betsey Piette

Betsey.Piette@workers.org

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Betsey Piette

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