Gray Panthers of San Francisco
February 2007 Newsletter

Mumia Abu-Jamal
Death Row Prisoner in USA
Honorary Citizen in France


Mumia has been held on death row in solitary confinement, maximum security, for twenty-five years. Yet, thanks to the Prison Radio project, this award-winning journalist’s voice rings out over the public airwaves and the internet. Mumia has recorded hundreds of commentaries sharing his political insights, his analysis of racism and classism, the failures of real health care, housing and education, and has given us a true picture of our prison system.

On December 9, 1981, Mumia came upon a number of Philadelphia police harassing Mumia’s brother. As the incident escalated, Mumia was critically wounded in a shootout, and a policeman was killed. Mumia was arrested and accused of killing the police officer. His subsequent trial has been denounced as racist by many, including Lynne Stewart and MIT professor Noam Chomsky. Mumia has the support of millions around the world. The inconsistencies in the trial and the case by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office are so blatant that Amnesty International has declared a “violation of minimum international standards that govern fair trial procedures and the use of the death penalty.” Eyewitnesses who testified against Mumia, confessed years later that the Fraternal Order of Police and Philadelphia cops had coerced them into lying under oath. The Judge presiding over the 1982 trial was heard using racial epithets when referring to Mumia. Mumia was no doubt tried for his political involvement in the Black Panther Party and his writing of the time against police brutality.

Mumia Case Mirrors Prison System in US

One in every 32 American adults is either in prison, on probation or on parole: seven million people! California has one of the largest prison systems in the Western world, and corruption is rampant. Yet, we build more and more prisons. As Jesse Jackson declared, “The only public housing built during the last ten years has been jail cells.”

On December 17, a Workers World Party delegation spent six hours with Mumia. One member told him of a walk on the Rue Mumia in France. They spoke of his spirits, politics of the day, and shared stories of the work being done to save his life. When asked if he had a message to send, he gave the following:

“I want to send my love and appreciation to all of those who have supported me for so many years. The best support that you can give me is to continue to build a strong, powerful movement for change.” (Workers World, 12-23-06).

(back to February 2007 Newsletter front page)