Dublin protest to save life of former Black Panther

Date:

Join the protest in Dublin on Saturday April 19th
2pm, Ballsbridge.

Journalist and former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, still faces execution by the US state. Last month the Appeal Court in Philadelphia ruled against a new trial. They have called for a new sentencing hearing, which will result in either an execution or life in prison without parole.

This man has been on death row since 1982. It is widely believed that he was railroaded to jail because of his radical views and personal history. Among those who have taken up his case are:
The National Union of Journalists, the Graphical, Paper & Media Union, International Organisation of Journalists, Nelson Mandela, Salman Rushdie, Rage Against the Machine, Christy Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Proinsias DeRossa MEP,, Joe Higgins (Socialist Party), Workers Solidarity Movement and the Connolly Youth Movement.

Protests in Ireland and around the world can have an effect. In 1995 a wave of international protest prevented Mumia's execution, even after a date had been set.Keep updated on Mumia's case and activities in support of him ;To receive Mumia's regular political columns and updates on his case from the USA, along with details of actions here in Ireland, send an email to freemumia.ireland@gmail.com and ask to be put on the list.

Here is an article by Dermot Sreenan from Workers Solidarity in 1995

** The "Voice of the Voiceless" on DEATH ROW. **;

AMERICAN BLACK activist and journalist, Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to die at 10pm on August 17th. Protests which took place in over twenty countries forced the US ;authorities to grant a stay of execution, just 11 days; before he was to be killed. He is still under sentence ;of death. His supporters are still seeking justice for him.

Mumia has been the recipient of police attention since his teenage years. At age 14 he was arrested for taking part in a protest against the racist pro-segregation Governor of Alabama, George Wallace. The next year he joined the Black Panther Party and was appointed its information officer in Philadelphia.

In the 1970s he turned to journalism. His work in this field saw him win awards and be elected President of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. His writings and radio programme constantly ran items about racist practices in the Mayor's office and brutality against black people by the police department. As a constant thorn in the side of the establishment, he became known as the "voice of the voiceless".

In the early hours of December 9th 1981 Mumia was moonlighting as a taxi driver when he saw his brother Billy being beaten by a policeman, Daniel Faulkner, on Locust Street, in downtown Philadelphia. Mumia approached and was shot in the stomach. He was found bleeding on the kerb, from where he was arrested and brought to Jefferson University Hospital. Faulkner was dead.

Evidence put forward which suggested Mumia was shot by Faulkner as he approached the scene, and that a third black male shot Faulkner and fled, was suppressed at the trial. Of all the witnesses in the original trial in 1982, only one witness identified Jamal as the man with a gun in his hand. She was Cynthia White, whom other witnesses said was not present.

One defence witness did, however, see her over half a block away at the time of the shooting. Ms White had three prostitution charges pending against her. Without explanation, these were dropped. And it was disclosed at the trial that Ms White had been given police protection and allowed to continue working as a prostitute.

The second witness said he did not see Officer Faulkner shoot Mumia at any time, and then gave a description of a man sounding nothing like Mumia. Furthermore this witness, Robert Chobert, told an arriving police captain that the shooter had run way. At the trial Chobert retracted his testimony, saying he had been mistaken and that Mumia was the shooter, although he said he never saw a gun or gun flashes. Chobert was, at that time, facing charges in an unrelated case but the jury was not informed of his motive to lie in hope of getting his sentence reduced.

The third prosecution witness, Mark Scanlan, could not identify Jamal. He later admitted that he had been drinking and was "confused" about what he saw. One witness who was not called was William Singletary, who said the shooter had run away. Following this he was harassed by police officers and threatened at his place of business until he finally shut down and moved to another state. Singletary's story was kept from Jamal & his defence at the time of his trial.

The "shouted confession"

The prosecution claimed that Mumia confessed as he lay on the floor of the hospital emergency room. Yet the doctor who was present, Dr Regina Cudemo, heard no confession but did see an officer kick Mumia. The doctor who made the initial examination, Dr. AnthonyColetta, found Mumia to be barely conscious.

Two additional prosecution witnesses claimed - over 
eight weeks later - that Mumia was struggling violently 
and shouted out a confession. These were Officer Garry 
Bell, Faulkner's partner and best friend; and a hospital 
security guard called Priscilla Durham who also knew 
Faulkner. The supposed confession was only reported 
after Internal Affairs detectives interviewed these two 
in relation to a complaint made by Mumia that he had 
been beaten up in the hospital.



However police officer Gary Wakshul had stayed with 
Mumia from the time of his arrest until doctors started 
their treatment of his wounds. He noted in his report 
that the prisoner made "no statements". Despite a 'no 
vacation' notice on his personnel file he was sent away 
on vacation until after the trial. Jamal's defence was 
refused an adjournment until his return.



The gun
Mumia was carrying was a legally registered gun, as many
US taxi drivers carry. No test was performed on Mumia's 
hands to see if he had recently fired a gun, despite 
this being normal practice. Nor did they test Mumia's 
gun. Or, if they did, they suppressed their findings. 



A Mr Jackson, who stated he was not experienced and 
did not want to take the case, was appointed Mumia's 
lawyer against both his own wishes and those of the 
accused. Jackson was later disbarred from legal 
practice because of incompetancy in another case.

There were just three black people on the jury for 
the trial of a black man in a city that is 40% black. 


Whipping up racist hysteria, Mumia's former membership 
of the Black Panther Party, and his current support for 
the MOVE grouping (a militant black grouping who call 
for a "green revolution"), was admitted as "evidence" 
to show he had planned to kill a cop for years and 
should be given a death sentence! 



Of the 103 people under sentence of death in 
Philadelphia only 12 are white. The trial judge has 
sentenced 31 people to death, only two of whom were 
white. Furthermore, Judge Sabo has a lifelong 
association with the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of 
Police, who have been running a high profile campaign to 
have Mumia executed. 



Although blacks make up just 9% of the population of 
Pennsylvania state they represent 56% of the population 
on death row. Mumia is being railroaded to a premature 
death, a state murder. The facts of this case give 
every justification for condemning it as a racist 
miscarriage of justice.



Worldwide protests

An international campaign for justice has been 
growing over the last couple of months. In Germany 
4,000 people marched through Berlin. The campaign is 
also growing in South Africa, India, Italy, France, 
Spain, Britain and many other countries. In Ireland 
the Workers Solidarity Movement and Militant Labour 
initiated the 'Justice for Abu-Jamal Campaign'. This 
group has distributed thousands of leaflets about the 
case, collected petitions and organised protests. 


Activities have taken place in Belfast, Cork, Dublin and 
Galway. 

Make no mistake, Mumia Abu-Jamal is on death row 
because of his politics. Abu-Jamal's biggest crime was 
to be born black and have the bravery to confront the 
oppression which he was exposed to in America. Our 
struggle is for freedom and justice. So is Abu-Jamal's, and that struggle continues.



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