Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge
has signed a death warrant for
and set August 17 at 10:00 pm
as the execution date
for this renowned champion of the oppressed,
who is innocent, and is to be executed
for his political activities and beliefs.
A former Black
Panther Party spokesman, an award-winning journalist known as the
"voice of the voiceless"
and supporter of the MOVE organization,
Jamal was the victim of a racist frame-up.
Human rights groups, labor unions, and other organizations representing millions of people from all over the world are fighting for Jamal's life.
Jamal's lead counsel Len Weinglass stated,
"Consigning Jamal to death with a stroke of his pen was a particularly vindictive actBy his actions, Governor Tom Ridge has shown his policy to be a vengeful race to death with alarming indifference to the judicial process. An appeal for a stay of execution will be filed in court on Monday morning as well as the legal papers seeking a new trial. These papers, based on months of investigation, research and review, demonstrate unequivocally that Mumia, a man who has proclaimed his innocence from the very beginning, was the victim of a politically motivated, racially biased prosecution in which evidence of his innocence was suppressed. Mumia was convicted for a crime he did not commit and sentenced to death for his political views and history as a member of the Black Panther Party."
as Governor Ridge is well aware
that Jamal's attorneys are set to file legal papers seeking a new trial and the setting aside of Jamal's death sentence on Monday morning in the Court of Common Pleas.
Mumia Abu-Jamal will not be a nameless, faceless victim of
"legal" lynching. Jamal is a prominent writer whose life is cherished
by individuals and organizations representing millions of working
people all over the globe.
Jamal's book,Live from Death Row, was recently published by Addison-Wesley to favorable reviews and public readings. Actor Ossie Davis, a long-time activist who 30 years ago delivered the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral and is today co-chairman of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal said, "The warrant is an outrage! Mumia is somebody we desperately need alive. We cannot let them take such a voice from us. We call on all decent people of this country to put up a struggle of gigantic proportions."
Deborah Mackson of the Partisan Defense Committee announced that there will be protests against the signing of this death warrant in cities across the United States and internationally. Mackson stated: "This is the first explicitly political execution attempted since the government murdered Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the McCarthyite climate of Cold War anti-Communism and anti-Semitism. Files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that from the age of 15, Jamal was a victim of the government's deadly COINTELPRO dirty tricks because he was a member of the Black Panther Party and recognized as an eloquent spokesman and fighter for black equality in racist America.
The threatened execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal takes place in the context of President Clinton's drive to bring back COINTELPRO and abridge fundamental freedoms for the entire population as part of the devastating rollback of the gains made by blacks, women, gays, and the labor movement through hard-fought struggles."
Spearheading the crusade against Jamal are the Philadelphia cops, tied to the highest levels of government. The publication of Jamal's Live from Death Row has sent the cops into a frenzy to silence Jamal and intimidate his supporters in order to speed his execution. On May 14, the Fraternal Order of Police escalated their campaign against Jamal by inviting President Clinton to appear at their national gathering alongside Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the police officer Jamal is falsely accused of killing. One year ago the FOP succeeded in pressuring National Public Radio to cancel the broadcast of Jamal's commentaries.
PDC spokesman Deborah Mackson stated, "It is the Philadelphia police who are guilty of murder in the horrendous 1985 firestorm of the MOVE commune where they killed eleven black people, including five babies and reduced an entire city block to rubble. The international campaign to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal is growing and will not be intimidated by thugs in uniform who act as if they are above the law."
From Tokyo to Toronto and from South Africa to the San Francisco Bay area, thousands are joining in protests organized as part of the international campaign to save Mumia Abu-Jamal. Tens of thousands of people have signed petitions or sent individual letters to the Pennsylvania state house demanding Jamal not be executed. Among Jamal's supporters are Harry Belafonte, Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, Congressman Ron Dellums, Pennsylvania state representative David Richardson, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, and actor Mike Farrell, who together with Ossie Davis is co-chairman of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Unions representing millions more have also demanded Jamal not die. In the last week messages of support for Jamal have been sent by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and M.C. Ramaphosa, Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC). In April, the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) wrote to Governor Ridge noting, "We know from bitter experience how a state criminalises the activities of political activists in order to silence them. The case of our first democratically-elected President is but one such example.... Your system of justice is on trial. MUMIA ABU-JAMAL must not die."
PDC staff counsel Rachel Wolkenstein stated, "In fighting the legal lynching of Jamal we will strike a blow against the entire apparatus of racist capitalist repression. While availing ourselves of every legal resource at our disposal, death penalty abolitionists cannot expect justice through the capitalist courts. We must rely on and organize the tremendous power of social protest to save Mumia. The power and exposure of international protest may well have prevented South Africa's white racist rulers from killing Nelson Mandela while he was in prison as they killed countless other anti-apartheid militants. Were it not for mass mobilizations against Jim Crow ëjustice,' the Scottsboro Boys would have died in prison for a crime they did not commit. We must stop this racist legal lynching!"
For more information, check the Mumia page
at the Solidarity for Political Prisoners site....updated daily.