August 17-19 Mass Mobilization

New State Hearing in Mumia's Case

Protest Judge Yohn's Outrageous Decision

Revolutionary Worker #1114, August 12, 2001, posted at

The movement to stop the execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and overturn his unjust conviction is calling for a mass mobilization in support of Mumia on August 17-18. Mumia’s lawyers have announced that Mumia will appear at a Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia on Friday, August 17--the first time he will be in open court since 1997. The state court appearance is in connection with a legal brief that Mumia and his lawyers recently filed with the Pennsylvania courts. The brief requests a second Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) hearing in the state courts to present new evidence that Mumia was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 shooting of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner.

The August 17 state court hearing comes nearly a month after an outrageous ruling by Federal District Judge William H. Yohn on July 19. (See C. Clark Kissinger’s article in last week’s RW, also available online at Yohn is the judge presiding over Mumia’s federal habeas corpus appeal, which was filed in late 1999 after Pennsylvania Judge Albert Sabo denied Mumia’s state appeal in the first PCRA hearing.

In the July 19 ruling, Yohn refused to take the testimony from a man named Arnold Beverly, who has stated that he is the person who actually shot Faulkner. Yohn did not simply turn down Mumia’s request for the federal court to hear Beverly’s testimony; he took the opportunity to cite in detail the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act--a federal law aimed directly at cutting off the ability of persons wrongfully convicted in the state courts to seek the overturn of their convictions and sentences in the federal courts. It was also very revealing that Yohn went out of his way to advise the Pennsylvania state courts to reject the Beverly testimony--even suggesting what sections of the Pennsylvania law the state courts should cite in rejecting Mumia’s petition for a new PCRA. This Federal court ruling made clear in a sharp way how determined the ruling class is to railroad Mumia into the death chamber.

According to the law clerk for Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Dembe, the August 17 hearing is a "status hearing" at which the judge will seek "to find out what the attorneys intend." While this hearing will deal with specific legal matters in Mumia’s case in the state courts, clearly it is an important juncture--all the more so because it is Mumia’s first appearance in open court in four years. The hearing takes place in the context of the significant ruling by Yohn in Mumia’s federal habeas case--and the new round of legal battles in the state courts with the PCRA filing.

So this is a crucial time for the movement to step up the struggle to stop the execution of Mumia. Actions are planned for August 17-18 in Philadelphia and San Francisco (see below). The people must be out in the streets to stand with our brother Mumia and to denounce Yohn’s vicious decision. A strong mobilization will help build for the major struggles and demonstrations ahead, including around the long-anticipated appearance by Mumia at the federal district court in the habeas case as well as developments in the PCRA hearing in the state courts.

We must make it known to millions, through our actions, that the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal is unacceptable, that it is an intolerable injustice, and that the people are determined to stop it. We need to dare to struggle in a way that lets the power structure know that their whole system is on trial in this case. To those who are fixated with taking Mumia’s life, we must raise the specter of opposition so broad, so diverse and so determined that the rulers of this society would have to pay an unacceptable price for their actions.

The leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), Bob Avakian, has said: "Revolutionaries, who embody the highest interests of the people and inspire them to fight for these interests, are very precious. People must defend such revolutionaries and refuse to accept the ‘right’ of the oppressors to persecute or legally murder them." This is true in an urgent way in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Stop the Execution of
Mumia Abu-Jamal!

Overturn the Conviction!

Free Mumia!


As we go to press, the plans for mass actions on August 17-18 include the following:


Mass Rally: Stand with Mumia!
Friday, August 17, 9 a.m.
Criminal Justice Bldg., 13th/Filbert
Rally while Mumia is in court and then march to the federal building.

Informative program on the MOVE 9
and Hip Hop Show to benefit MOVE
August 17, 6 p.m.
Friends Center
1515 Cherry Street

March for Mumia
Saturday, August 18
(time and place in planning)
For information contact: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, 215-476-8812


San Francisco

Press Conference and Stand with Mumia Picket Line
August 17, 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
State Building, Van Ness and MacAllister

Mass Rally
August 18, 12 p.m.-2 p.m.
Powell and Market Streets

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)