Demonstrate for Mumia on Feb 11
'Let the evidence be heard'
By Betsey Piette
Demanding that the truth be heard in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, supporters will go ahead with a planned demonstration Feb. 11 in Philadelphia despite the cancellation of a hearing on his case sche duled for that day in front of Pennsylvania State Court Judge Pamela Dembe.
That hearing was to present two key facts proving that the prosecution falsified evidence in order to convict Abu-Jamal. The reason given for the cancellation was that the "Johnson Ruling issued Dec. 20, 2004, may prohibit Dembe from ruling on the evidence."
According to Abu-Jamal's attorney Robert R. Bryan, however, the Johnson Ruling has nothing to do with the evidence being presented. Dembe's latest ruling is clearly just one more in a long history of blatant denials of justice in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Pam Africa, coordinator of the Inter national Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, told Workers World, "Despite Judge Dembe's absurd cancellation of Mumia's hearing, the February 11 demonstration will go on as earlier plan ned. Dembe's action is consistent with all the fraud, lies, deceit and irregularities marring Mumia's case. The courts have attempted to stunt the people's power on behalf of Mumia by canceling at the eleventh hour to stop our momentum. However, protesting now is relevant and urgent. We need to be present, visible and vocal in our demands that Mumia's hearing be reinstated, with him present, to let the evidence be heard, and ultimately to release Mumia."
Demonstrators will gather at 10 a.m. at 15th and Cherry Streets, then march to the Criminal Justice Building at 13th and Filbert for a rally and press conference. Supporters will hold a symposium from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at 1501 Cherry on Mumia's role in the struggle, the status of his legal case and building the international support movement. An evening cultural event/ fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m. will follow.
Mumia's supporters are asking people to call Judge Dembe to demand that Mumia's hearing be reinstated with him present. Dembe's phone number is 215-683-7148; her fax number is 215-683-7150.
Africa pointed out that "Dembe is currently feeling the collective heat of her colleagues in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the District Attorney's office, governor's mansion and on up to the top. To see Mumia walk out free from SCI-Greene we need to make our people's pressure greater than what Dembe is experiencing from the other side. There is only one way to do that -- join together!"
Support gaining momentum
The call for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal has been gaining new momentum as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Jan. 11 by a nine-to-two vote calling for justice and a new trial for Abu-Jamal. They will send the resolution to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
In November 2004 a resolution by the National Caucus of Black State Legislators demanded that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal and that he be released from prison. The resolution commits the NCBSL to work with Abu-Jamal's legal defense team to petition the courts to file any necessary friend of the court brief on behalf of Abu-Jamal in order to vacate his conviction. The resolution describes Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial in Philadelphia (for the murder of Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulk ner) as "characterized by illegal suppression of evidence, police coercion, illegal exclusion of Black jurors and grotes quely unfair and unconstitutional rulings by the judge."
The NAACP also passed a similar resolution at their national convention in Phila delphia last summer.
For transportation from New York City for the Feb. 11 protest in Philadelphia call the International Action Center at 212-633-6646. For general information on the Feb. 11 protest call 215-476-8812 or visit the ICFFMAJ web site at www.mumia.org.