Revolutionary Worker #1145, April 7, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal has called for four days of action April 4-8 to protest the unjust imprisonment of revolutionary political prisoner Mumia Abu- Jamal.
Last December in federal district court in Philadelphia, for the first time in 20 years a court admitted there was something wrong in the trial that has kept Mumia on death row for two decades after he was framed for the murder of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner. Judge Yohn ruled that the sentencing hearing-- which sentenced Mumia to death--was in violation of the law.
But in a deeply unjust decision, Judge Yohn upheld Mumia's murder conviction and refused to consider new evidence in Mumia's case.
The fact that Yohn upheld the conviction is an outrage. Yohn turned down 20 claims in Mumia's petition for habeas corpus which argue clearly and in detail that Mumia was wrongly convicted. These claims include many instances of misconduct by the trial judge and the prosecution: suppression of evidence, coercion of witnesses, police perjury, forcing a totally ineffective court-appointed lawyer on Mumia, and the refusal of Mumia's right to defend himself or to have assistance from legal counsel of his choice. Yohn also turned down Mumia's claim that the judge and prosecutor engaged in racist jury selection -- although he left open the possibility on this one point for later appeal (see RW #1133 for more information).
Yohn's court was also Mumia's last chance to introduce new evidence. Yet Yohn refused to hear new evidence or allow oral arguments--despite the emergence of affidavits by Mumia and his brother describing the events the night Philly cop Daniel Faulkner was killed; an affidavit by Arnold Beverly, who has stated he was the one who killed Faulkner; and an affidavit by a Philadelphia court employee who overheard the judge in Mumia's original trial, Judge Sabo, say in a conversation "I'm going to help 'em fry the n*gger." (A lower court judge also refused to hear the new evidence and Judge Yohn declared he did not want lower courts to hold hearings on it.)
Since Yohn's ruling, more evidence surfaced that proves Mumia was unjustly framed. In a sworn affidavit Yvette Williams declared that Cynthia White told her that police forced her to lie and identify Mumia as the shooter. Williams was in prison with White after the shooting. White was the key eyewitness in Mumia's trial and the only witness who testified she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner.
In Yohn's December ruling, the prosecution was given 180 days to schedule a new sentencing hearing. If they do not, Mumia's sentence will automatically be changed to life in prison without parole. This would be a totally unjust outcome-- one that threatens to completely close the prison door on Mumia.
The prosecution remains intent on murdering Mumia and has appealed Yohn's ruling on the death sentence to the Circuit Court. If they win, the death sentence would be restored--and the Pennsylvania governor could immediately announce an execution date. Mumia's attorneys have appealed Yohn's decision upholding the murder conviction to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. And they have filed court papers requesting hearings be held on the new evidence.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed because he is a revolutionary who has always spoken out on behalf of the oppressed. From death row, he has continued to do so for the past 20 years, exposing the crimes of this system and shining a light on the lives of the oppressed. In the past few months his weekly columns have included exposing and denouncing the U.S. "war on terrorism" as a war of aggression. Mumia's case is even more important in today's political climate where the government is trying to criminalize dissent.
The more closely people look at Mumia's case the more it becomes clear that the system has carried out a profound injustice. The possibility that the death sentence on Mumia might be restored or that he may be locked up for life poses great dangers -- especially given the current climate of repression and intimidation in this country. This situation makes it all the more important for people to fight through to build the kind of broad, diverse and determined movement that can win complete justice for Mumia Abu- Jamal.
No New Death Sentence! Overturn the Conviction! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Some of the events the RW has learned about include:
April 4 -- International Honk for Mumia Day
11:00 a.m.--In commemoration of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal will hold a press conference featuring Philadelphia area scholars at 1199C Union Hall, 13th & Juniper Streets.
3:00 p.m.-- Demonstration at the corner of Broad and Spring Garden.
April 5--International Day of Action for Mumia
In Philadelphia there will be a night of poetry with artists from the Blackout Poetry Collective. Time and place to be announced.
April 6, Philadelphia --"Let The Evidence Be Heard! The Truth Must Be Told!"
11:00 a.m.--Rally at State Office Building, Broad & Spring Garden Streets
11:15 a.m.--March through North Philly to Mumia's high school
12:00-6:00 p.m.--Teach-in at Benjamin Franklin High School, Broad & Green Streets. The first half of the teach-in will focus on Mumia's legal situation and action proposals. The second half will address the context of the fight to free Mumia: war, repression, reparations and other death penalty cases. $10 donation requested (no one will be turned away).
April 7, Philadelphia:
6:00-8:00 p.m.-- Resist This! Speaking Tour--Clark Kissinger and youth from Refuse & Resist! are featured speakers as R&R! launches a nationwide campus speaking tour to expose the police state atmosphere in post-9/11 America, encourage resistance to the unending, unjust war, help build support for those under attack, and discuss the need--more than ever--to free Mumia. Robins Books, 108 S. 13th Street. For more information contact Philadelphia Refuse & Resist!, 215-552-8548.
April 8, Philadelphia:
9:00 a.m.--Pack the courtroom at the hearing for the people arrested after being attacked by police at a December 8th protest marking the 20th year of Mumia's unjust imprisonment. Criminal Justice Center, 13th & Filbert.
12:30 p.m.--Rally in support of those arrested on December 8th at the northwest corner of City Hall across from the Criminal Justice Center.
For more information on these and other activities contact International Concerned Friends & Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, icffmaj@AOL.com, 215-476-8812, www.mumia.org
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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