02/17/05

On February 11 people say
Free Mumia Now!

By Susanne Kelly, Philadelphia

Prompted by the cancellation of a state court hearing on the case of political prisoner, acclaimed journalist and death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, his supporters held a Day of Action Feb. 11 in Phila delphia. Hundreds attended from the city and around the country. An international delegation came from Paris, France.

Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulk ner. Since that time, serious questions have been raised about the trial, including prosecutorial misconduct, a racist presiding judge, falsified and conflicting evidence and coerced witnesses. The Feb. 11 court date was to have focused on Abu-Jamal's petition for habeas corpus.

The Day of Action included a demonstration and march, a People's Hearing, and a hip-hop concert in the evening.

At the demonstration, hundreds of his supporters marched through downtown Philadelphia to the criminal justice building, chanting and filling the streets with blue balloons blowing in the wind. Org an izers held a news conference outside the criminal justice building

At the People's Hearing, witnesses and experts presented testimony showing how the prosecution falsified evidence in order to convict Abu-Jamal. This falsification included manipulating purported eyewitnesses to falsely identify him as the shooter.

Speakers included attorneys Michael Coard and Leslie Jones, Ramona Africa and Pam Africa, Fred Hampton Jr., son of assassinated Black Panther Fred Hampton, and many others.

The international delegation included two members of the City Council of Paris representing the mayor of Paris, and a city councilperson from St. Denys, France. They came to Philadelphia to add their voices to the millions around the world who are demanding a new trial for Abu-Jamal.

The Day of Action ended with an exciting concert. Artists included Immortal Technique, Seeds of Wisdom, and Dyna max, who came with the Paris delegation.

Philadelphia Mayor John Street reneged on a promise to hold a reception for the international delegation on the evening of Feb. 10. Later, pressure from Abu-Jamal's supporters forced Street to welcome the international visitors by giving them the city's "Liberty Bell" award.

It is 2005 and Mumia has been on death row for almost 23 years. Since 1982 a massive movement of millions worldwide has formed to educate people about the injustice of his case, to keep pressure on the courts to demand a new trial and to push for his release.

In 2001 a decision was handed down by a federal court which confused many people into thinking Abu-Jamal was no longer on death row---but nothing could be further from the truth. He is still on death row, and unless action is taken, every single day is closer to another death warrant being signed.

If new evidence is not allowed in the state courts---which includes the signed confession of Arnold Beverly that he killed Daniel Faulkner---the only evidence allowed in the federal courts will be the lies that were presented at the trial in 1982.

According to Pam Africa and the International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the government hopes that eventually people will give up and forget about Abu-Jamal so they can murder him or keep him in a cage for the rest of his life.

The daylong events on Feb. 11 were another significant step in the fight for his life. This fight impacts all people and movements because he is on death row as a result of his outspoken vigilance for the oppressed.

Now it is more important than ever that we stand with Mumia Abu-Jamal!