December 19, 2004

Black legislators support Mumia’s release

By Monica Moorehead

On Dec. 3, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) passed a resolution during its conference in Philadelphia calling for the freedom of African American political prisoner and death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. This comes on the heels of another important resolution passed at the NAACP national convention on July 15 that demanded a new trial for Abu-Jamal and condemned the racist application of the death penalty by the criminal justice system.

The NAACP convention also took place in Phila del phia, the city where Abu-Jamal was shot and arrested on Dec. 9, 1981, charged with killing a white police officer. Both resolutions were brought about by the efforts of members and supporters of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal to help raise a broader awareness of this case and its political significance.

The sham of a trial that took place in 1982 led to a murder conviction and a death sentence for Abu-Jamal. At least 29 constitutional violations were carried out during this trial, including the systematic exclusion of Black jurors by the prosecutor. Abu-Jamal was physically removed from some of the jury proceedings after being denied his right to the legal counsel of his choice.

A worldwide movement in support of Abu-Jamal has kept him from being legally lynched by the powers that be who want to silence his revolutionary voice. Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, writes eloquent columns denouncing war, racism and oppression in his maximum security cell in Waynesburg, Pa., while awaiting the outcome of state and federal court appeals in efforts to win a new trial.

The state legislators' resolution reads:

WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial in Phila delphia was characterized by illegal suppression of evidence, police coercion, illegal exclusion of Black jurors, and grotesquely unfair and unconstitutional rulings by the judge; and

WHEREAS the trial judge, Albert Sabo, has been quoted in a sworn statement to have vowed at the time of the trial to help the prosecution 'fry the n--'; and

WHEREAS subsequent appellate rulings have bent the law out of shape to sustain the guilty verdict of that trial; and

WHEREAS the appellate courts have also refused to consider strong evidence of Mumia Abu-Jamal's innocence, most notably a confession by Arnold Beverly to the crime; and

WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal still is incarcerated on Death Row and still faces a death sentence; and

WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal's case is now on appeal before the federal Third Circuit and the state court system; and

WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal has for decades as a journalist fought courage ously against racism and for the human rights of all people; and

WHEREAS the continued unjust incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal represents a threat to the civil rights of all people,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Caucus of Black State Legislators demands that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal and that he be released from prison; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL demands that Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell instruct his Attorney General to take over the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal from the Philadelphia County District Attorney's office and actually pursue justice; namely, go to court, make a legal confession of error, and stipulate that the conviction be vacated;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL will communicate its views on this matter to Gov. Rendell, 225 Main Capitol Bldg., Harris burg, PA 17120, and to the appropriate courts in consultation with the legal defense team of Mumia Abu-Jamal; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL will work with the legal defense team of Mumia Abu-Jamal to petition the courts to file any necessary friend of the court brief on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal. n

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
www.prisonradio.org

Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of thre following books:

WE WANT FREEDOM: 'A Life in the Black Panther Party',
'Live from Death Row',

'Death Blossoms'
, and
'All Things Censored'.

Write to Mumia directly at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

 

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