From Greg Butterfield

break-in at Mumia office

On the night of June 8, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal reported, its Philadelphia office was subject to a “COINTELPRO-style burglary … when an unknown person or persons made off with important files.” The stolen files contain financial records and the names of high-profile contacts.

“I believe this was a government plan to disrupt our work,” said Pam Africa, the coordinator of Concerned Family & Friends.

The theft of financial records is especially significant because Concerned Family & Friends is struggling to obtain full tax-exempt non-profit status for Abu-Jamal’s legal defense fund.

Last year a witch hunt by state and local government forced the Black United Fund to withdraw as the defense fund’s sponsor.

Africa said the office’s one entrance is kept locked, so the burglars must have used a lock pick or a key to the office. No office equipment or other items of value were taken.

Africa cautioned groups working on Abu-Jamal’s case to be prepared in case they are targeted for similar burglaries.

Pennsylvania death-row activist Abu-Jamal has played a big part in galvanizing the movement to abolish the racist death penalty and save Texas prisoner Gary Graham/Shaka Sankofa.

As a result, proponents of legal lynching are zeroing in on his supporters for attack.

The break-in came just weeks after Abu-Jamal’s literary agent Frances Goldin, Clark Kissinger of Refuse & Resist, and six other Free Mumia activists were sentenced to supervised probation for their participation in a civil-disobedience action at Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell last July 3.

“Supervised probation” means the activists can’t travel without permission from their parole officers. They must present detailed records of their activities and finances. They are not allowed to visit Abu-Jamal or associate with anyone who has a criminal record.

At a June 6 news conference at the Brooklyn, N.Y., probation office, Kissinger said he would “draw a line” and refuse to hand over required paperwork. Goldin, Kissinger and 25 others held an impromptu demonstration inside the probation office.

Kissinger invited everyone to come back and protest on July 11, when he is required to appear again.

Soyinka speaks out

Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka visited Abu-Jamal on death row June 9. The next day he spoke with death-penalty foes in Pittsburgh, where he called for a new trial for the former Black Panther.

Soyinka said he was “still waiting for a reply” to the letter he and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote last year to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, asking for a review of Abu-Jamal’s case.

Abu-Jamal’s supporters are gearing up for a summer of resistance. After June 22, Federal Judge William Yohn is expected to announce a hearing in Philadelphia to consider whether he will hear new evidence of Abu-Jamal’s innocence.

Death-penalty opponents plan to pack the courtroom and demonstrate outside in support of a new trial.

Major demonstrations will take place at the Republican convention in Philadelphia July 29-Aug. 5 and at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles Aug. 13-17.

For more information, readers can visit the Web site or call Millions for Mumia at (212) 633-6646 in New York or (415) 821-6545 in San Francisco.

* The legal struggle to win a new trial * Supporters' alerts * Warnings* Worldwide support * Labor * Other notables* Fill out the form to join the effort
* History of Mumia's case* Flyers * Pictures * Buttons * T-shirts * Links* Calendar of events

Send your comments to