Desmond Tutu and Wole Soyinka
Oppose Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Revolutionary Worker #990, January 17, 1999

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written an open letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge requesting clemency for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is facing execution. The letter was cosigned by Nigerian author Dr. Wole Soyinka. Both Archbishop Tutu and Dr. Wole Soyinka are Nobel Prize laureates.

The letter refers the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's recent decision to reject Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal appeals. It says: "The law has taken its course, now it is time for humanity to prevail. We earnestly plead with you for clemency. Reach out to him with the gift of life. Wield the authority conferred upon you by the good people of Pennsylvania on behalf of the highest cherished virtues of which humanity is capable--compassion and mercy."

Since late November, this letter has been widely circulated by the Bruderhof community and others. Many prominent people have added their names to the request, including four more Nobel Prize laureates. The following people had signed this clemency appeal as of January 7, 1999:

Dorothy Allison, author
Joan Baez, singer
Harry Belafonte, actor, singer
Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell, Gen. Sec. National Council of Churches
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Congressman John Conyers Jr., MI
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Sister Camille D'Arienzo, RSM
Rev. John Dear, Executive Dir. Fellowship of Reconciliation
Martin Espada, Professor, University of Mass.
Danny Glover, actor
J. Christoph Arnold, author, Elder of the Bruderhof Communities
Dick Gregory, actor/activist
Bishop Richard Grein, Episcopal Diocese of New York
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit
John Hume, Member of Parliament for Northern Ireland, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow Coalition
Sanford Kelson, Esq., Pres. Veterans for Peace
Coretta Scott King
Barbara Kingsolver, author
Jonathan Kozol, author
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, CA
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, GA
Toni Morrison, author
Sister Helen Prejean, author
Tim Robbins, actor-producer
Susan Sarandon, actor
Martin Sheen, actor
Sam Sheppard, author
Mark Taylor, Prof. Princeton Theological Seminary
Studs Terkel, author
Lucius Walker, Dir. Pastors for Peace
Cornel West, Prof. Harvard University
John Edgar Wideman, author
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, author
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Rev. Seiichi Michael Yasutake, Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project
Howard Zinn, historian

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