The Hurricane for


"Mumia Abu-Jamal is factually innocent,
& he’s still sitting on death row."

So stated legendary boxer and former prisoner Rubin "Hurricane" Carter spoke out in support of death-row activist Mumia Abu-Jamal. He chose Philadelphia—Abu-Jamal’s hometown—to make a statement supporting a new trial for the former Black Panther.

Carter also sits on the board of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a Georgia-based group that aids death-row prisoners in their appeals.

Carter, who is African American, was framed for murder and sentenced to three consecutive life terms in 1976. After years of mass protests and committed support from anti-racist activists, including Muhammad Ali, Carter won a new trial. He presented new evidence proving his innocence, and was ultimately freed by using his right to Federal Habeas Corpus.

Habeas corpus, the right of a prisoner to have an independent federal court review, was crucial in freeing many innocent people on appeal—including Hurricane Carter.

But the 1996 Effective Death Penalty Act signed by President Bill Clinton virtually wiped away this right. Federal judges are now instructed by law to take state court findings as good coin in all but the most extraordinary circumstances.

"Jailhouse stool pigeons, jury tampering, jury fixing, paid criminals for perjured testimonies, the manufacturing of evidence by police departments, the lies in the seat of government itself–that’s what Mumia Abu-Jamal is in prison for. That’s what I was in prison for."

Stacked juries Carter explained how in both his and Abu-Jamal’s cases most of the potential African American jurors were excluded. The jury in Carter’s first trial included 10 whites and two African Americans.

The Hurricane called this "the ploy by which the government gets away with the appearance of a mixed jury."

He said he hopes to meet with Abu-Jamal.


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