New Victory in the Fight to Free Mumia Abu Jamal
Free Mumia! Free all Political Prisoners in U.S. Jails!
The campaign to free U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal took an important step forward this week, with the decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker to grant Mumia Abu-Jamal new rights of appeal. This is a big victory for a solidarity campaign which has been ongoing for almost 40 years, and which was also able to get Abu Jamal off of “death row” and later secure previously denied life-saving Hepatitis C treatment in jail.
Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille denied Abu-Jamal fair and impartial appeals by not recusing himself from the defendant’s appeals between 1998 and 2012. The ruling referenced Castille’s public statements of being a “law and order” prosecutor, responsible for 45 men on death row, the support of the Fraternal Order of Police and the new evidence of Castille’s having singled out men convicted as “police killers.”
The judges ruling means that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals of his 1982 conviction could be reheard.
Abu-Jamal, and human rights organizations around the world, have always maintained his innocence in the fatal shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner. His prosecution was politically motivated because of his previous Black Panther Party membership and public profile as a radical journalist. His trial was racially biased, and the court stenographer actually overheard trail judge Albert Sabo declare, “I’m gonna help them fry the n----r.” The prosecution also excluded African Americans from the jury.
District Attorney Larry Krasner still has an opportunity to appeal this ruling. Abu-Jamal’s supporters have already rallied in front of his office to demand he allow the judgement to stand. We echo this demand, as well the demand that after 37 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, all charges against Mumia Abu Jamal should be dismissed and he should be immediately freed.
‘An eye for an eye’
But the family of Faulkner, the slain officer, sees that outcome as a nightmare. They plan to plead with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to challenge the ruling in favor of Abu-Jamal. Krasner, through a spokesman, said he was reviewing the decision and had not yet decided whether to oppose it.
Tucker, in his opinion, said Abu-Jamal should be given another chance to argue his innocence in front of the state’s high court, now that Castille is no longer a sitting judge.
“The court finds that recusal by Justice Castille would have been appropriate to ensure the neutrality of the judicial process in [Abu-Jamal’s appeals] before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” Tucker wrote.
Abu-Jamal’s lawyers have 30 days to inform Pennsylvania’s courts of their intent to pursue an appeal.
For more information: www.freemumia.com
FREE LEONARD PELTIER NOW!
Leonard Peltier is an indigenous activist and political prisoner in the United States. In 1975, Leonard was set up and convicted of the death of two FBI agents who had sped on to the Jumping Bull compound in an unmarked car and who began a shoot-out with the Indigenous people who were there. He is 74 years old and has been imprisoned for 43 years. Regardless of his innocence and huge health problems, the U.S. refuses to release him. Despite huge adversity he continues to speak out for indigenous rights and social justice.
The campaign to demand his freedom continues. In November a 1500 mile “Spirit Ride” was completed in his honour. Horse riders travelled all the way from Minnesota to Coleman, Florida, where Leonard Peltier is being held. From there they travelled to Washington, DC to bring a message to President Trump demanding he free the internationally respected political prisoner.
Peltier continues to defend his innocence and speak out for justice around the world. Below is an excerpt of his most recent public statement.
Statement of love and respect from Leonard Peltier
By Leonard Peltier posted on December 3, 2018
Greetings Sisters, Brothers, Elders, Friends and Supporters.
Well here it is, sorry to say, another year, and I’m still writing to you from a prison cell. I am still in pain from my illnesses with no knowledge of whether I will ever get treatments for them. But I’m alive and still breathing, hoping, wishing, praying for not just my pains, but for all Native Nations and the People of the World who care and have positive feelings about what is happening to Mother Earth and against the evils committed by Wasi’chu in their greed for her natural resources.
It doesn’t seem as if any changes for the good or safety of Mother Earth will happen soon. But the good hearted people are fighting back, and some good people are winning in the struggles to beat back some of this evil and to make the Changes, the safety networks, we need for our grandchildren and great grandchildren so that they will be able to live happy, successful lives, at least decent lives, that most of the poor underprivileged in my generation never got to experience or enjoy in [their] short lives.
Politically we are finally making gains in Congress; two great Native ladies made it in the House of Representatives! They are Shanice Davids, Ho Chunk of Wisconsin, for Kansas and Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, for New Mexico. On Pine Ridge my nephew Julian Bear Runner made it as President of the great Lakota Nation! I’m hearing more states are doing away with Columbus Day! Hell, we may just win the War for Survival yet.
My last thoughts on this day, that we Native People call a Day of Mourning, are for my sisters’ and brothers’ family by blood and by AIM that are now in the Spirit World, and to them I say Lila Pilamaya, thank you for your love and work for The People.
My thoughts are also with the youth such as the Water Protectors and all people young and old who are working to protect Mother Earth. I hope someday in the near future to be with you and part of this march and join you in the feast prepared by Native People and wonderful supporters who have joined together today to honor our Ancestors.
In The Spirit of Crazy Horse
For more information: www.whoisleonardpeltier.info
Follow Thomas on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
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