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Mumia was a prominent radio journalist who allowed the angry and anguished voices of the oppressed onto the air waves. In retaliation, he was framed up on a murder charge by the Philadelphia police.

In Decemeber of 1981, Mumia was shot by a Philadelphia police officer and almost died when he came upon a scene where his own brother was being brutally beaten by the same cop.

The police officer was also shot and killed, and wtinesses saw two men run from the scene. Yet when the police arrived, they beat Mumia before taking him to the hospital. When they discovered that they had a prominent critic of the police department, he was instantly charged with murder. Mumia's brother and wtinesses at the scene were later harassed and driven out of town. No attempt was made to identify the men seen fleeing the scene. And the dead officer was holding a drivers license of yet another man. But it was only Mumia the police wanted.

WHen people began to question the charging of Mumia, the police put forward the absurd story two months after the incident that Mumia had confessed in the hospital emergency room, and they had simply forgotten to mention it at the time or write it in their reports. The written reports and the emergency room doctor said this never happened.

Mumia was then barred for most of his own trial for protesting an incompetent court-appointed attorney who was later disbarred. Eleven pre-emptory challenges were used to knock almost all blacks off the jury. Vital evidence was withheld from the defense, witnesses were intimidated, and the fatal bullet has disappeared from the police files. The political motivation of the prosecution was made clear when the prosecutor argued for the death penalty by reading revolutionary quotes from Mumia's political writings. IN a recent hearing, a witness used against Mumia in the first trial came forward to say that she lied under police coercion. In retaliation, she was arrested in the courtroom as she stepped of the witness stand on an old warrant from another state that she knew nothing about.

ALl this takes place against a back drop of massive police scandal in Philadelphia. Dozens of people have been released from jail because they were originally convicted on the basis of phony evidence fabricated by the police.

Mumia has spent over 15 years in prison, facing execution for a crime he did not commit. In 1995 he was put in disciplinary confinement for writing a book, Live from Death Row. The police frame up of Mumia came at the end of the turbulent late sixties and seventies when the government declared war upon the Black Panther Party and Black radicals in general. In Philadelphia under Mayor Frank Rizzo, much of this became concentrated in the citys war on the militant MOVE organization, a war that culminated in the 1985 police boming of the MOVE house, the murder of 11 occupants (including 5 children), and the burning of 60 homes in the neighborhood.

Mumia had exposed an earlier police attack on MOVE, and allowed MOVE activists to present their side of the story on the air. Before that he had been a founding member and Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. When Mumia's new lawyers obtained his FBI files, they found that he had been under government surveillance since he was 15 years of age!

   

  


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Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

History in the Making

-In 1995 Mumia Abu-Jamal was only ten days from execution, when a world-wide outcry forced the government to back down and grant a stay of execution. yet Mumia remains under court order for execution and the outcome depends upon our actions

-Only twice in the twentieth century have there been court ordered executions of political dissidents in the United Staes. The last time was the Rosenberg's over 40 years ago. And the government has not dared to carry out the legel execution of a prominent Black revolutionary since the days of slavery. To let them get away with such an act now would send a chilling message throughout society. It would affect the political climate for years to come.

-The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal concentrates the criminalization of Black men, the suppression of dissent, the expanded death penalty, the gutting of defendants rights, and a whole political atmosphere based on blame and punishment of the most oppressed.

 


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