NOI Prison Reform

Fight Continues For Justice For Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Gregory Muhammad -Guest Columnist- | Last updated: Jun 28, 2017 - 12:55:15 PM

Bookmark and Share

What's your opinion on this article?

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 63rd birth anniversary included a hearing on his Post Conviction Relief Act Petition in a Philadelphia courtroom. The hearing was held at the Criminal Justice Center. This hearing was held to determine whether all the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions from 1995-2008 that denied Mumia his freedom should be overturned.

According to Prison Radio founder Noelle Hanrahan, “For the first-time a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia’s appeal.”

She went on to say, “In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney’s office is finally being held to account. Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the District Attorney to produce all of the documents relevant to former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice’s role in the case.”

mumia-abu-jamal_07-04-2017.jpg
A historic photo of Mumia Abu-Jamal in handcuffs. The civil rights activist and journalist, now 63 years old and serving a prison sentence of life without parole, recently attended a hearing on his Post Conviction Relief Act Petition in a Philadelphia courtroom.

According to Pam Africa and her supporters, this legal challenge is based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Terry Williams case, which ruled that an appellate judge cannot participate in a case in which he had a former role in significant prosecutorial decisions.

Ronald Castille was the District Attorney responsible for opposing Mumia’s 1989 appeal of his trial conviction and death sentence.

Castille ran for election to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court bragging that 45 men (including Mumia) had been convicted and sentenced to death by his DA’s office.

Castille had also been financed and named “Man of the Year” by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Hanrahan further wrote, “During that hearing, Swarns (of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund) made it clear that the District Attorney’s practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castille’s conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence. Evidence the office hid for years. This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia’s quest for justice. In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981.”

The mobilization for Mumia continues on the back of his victory to get a Hepatitis C treatment. This writer remembers when Pam Africa received the news that Mumia was rushed out of the prison (SCI-Mahanoy) to a hospital while we were supporting his civil suit against the Department of Correction and the State of Pennsylvaina for passing a law that “silenced prisoners from speaking to the outside community through the media.” We were at the U.S. Middle District Court located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was after two long years of campaigning in the courts and the streets that resulted in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and clearing the way for Mumia to get the cure for his Hepatitis C infection which had already led to the scarring of his liver.

In May, Mumia was in the third week of receiving the lifesaving medication and his victory will clear the way for the other 7,000 inmates suffering from untreated Hepatitis C to also get treated. The fight is far from over. Now, legal actions continue for compensation for damages due to the Dept. of Corrections negligence in refusing to treat Mumia and other prisoners in a timely and humane manner.

The N.O.I. Prison Reform Ministry for the Delaware Valley region, commissioned by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s N.O.I. Student National Prison Reform Minister Abdullah Muhammad, participated in the rally outside the courtroom. Hundreds witnessed the call to “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,” even children were demanding that Mumia be freed from prison. We pray for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s secured health.In May, Mumia was in the third week of receiving the lifesaving medication and his victory will clear the way for the other 7,000 inmates suffering from untreated Hepatitis C to also get treated. The fight is far from over. Now, legal actions continue for compensation for damages due to the Dept. of Corrections negligence in refusing to treat Mumia and other prisoners in a timely and humane manner. The N.O.I. Prison Reform Ministry for the Delaware Valley region, commissioned by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s N.O.I. Student National Prison Reform Minister Abdullah Muhammad, participated in the rally outside the courtroom.

Hundreds witnessed the call to “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,” even children were demanding that Mumia be freed from prison. We pray for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s secured health.

We pray for his protection against anyone that would like to kill him. We pray for Justice in Mumia’s case. The Justice Or Else! Movement Continues. Please reflect on these words from Minister Farrakhan’s address delivered October 24, 1987, “We cannot live without justice. Justice is a prerequisite to life. It is one of the internal principles that The Creator of the heavens and the earth has decreed that every creature should have the freedom to be what God created it to be. And every creature is born under a law, and that law justifies that creature and renders it equal. So, Freedom, Justice and Equality are not conferred on us by the Constitution, but Freedom, Justice and Equality are conferred on us by our Creator.”

Let us stay behind Pam Africa with our undying support to Demand for the Freedom of Mumia Abu Jamal.

“Brick by brick, wall by wall, we gonna free Mumia Abu-Jamal!” This is the chant that could be heard in cities across America in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The N.O.I. Prison Reform Ministry Delaware Valley Region was present at most of these marches and rallies.

The marches and rallies still continue. The movement is to “free” Mumia and all political prisoners and end mistreatment of prisoners.

Mumia’s Attorney Robert Boyle and co-counsel Bret Grote from the Abolition Law Center located in Pittsburgh represented Abu-Jamal in the Hepititis treatment case.

Attorney Robert Boyle stated the judge’s decision and order requiring treatment prohibited the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections from failing to deliver the Hepatitis C protocol to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Former attorney for Mumia, Atty. Rachel Wolkenstein, said, “Judge Mariani’s decision is a clear declaration that Mumia and all prisoners with chronic hep-C are entitled to the new anti-viral drugs, regardless of the severity of their liver disease. Judge Mariani found the DOC to be acting in conscious and deliberate indifference to the medical needs of the prisoners. He cited the DOC’s own expert witnesses in finding the DOC established and implements a ‘prioritization protocol’ requiring a prisoner to be near death with bleeding from his throat from liver disease before being considered for treatment. The DOC had no medical reason for these protocols.”

This writer finds this to be “wicked and evil.”

Support the N.O.I. Prison Reform Ministry. Make a donation today.

Gregory Muhammad is the N.O.I. Student Regional Prison Reform Minister in the Delaware Valley.

Bookmark and Share