Protests mark 20 years of Mumia in jail

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been the victim of a frame-up for 20 years. A weekend of demonstrations is planned with coordinated student-led walkouts on college campuses throughout the U.S. Dec. 7. A demonstration will be held at Philadelphia City Hall Dec. 8. An information distribution tour and protest through Philadelphia neighborhoods will be held Dec. 9.

Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in a trial fraught with prosecutorial, police and judicial misconduct.

Abu-Jamal ran into trouble with the right wing from the age of 15 when, as minister of communications for the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party, he was targeted by the FBI (through its COINTELPRO operation used to shatter 1960s’ Black liberation organizations) and subjected to police surveillance and harassment.

Later, as a radio journalist in the ’70s, he spoke out against police beatings, especially in regard to the MOVE organization. He also became a target of then-Mayor Frank L. Rizzo who was notorious for Gestapo-like oppression of the Black community. From death row, Abu-Jamal speaks out against the injustice of bombing innocent human beings in Afghanistan and against all imperialist war.

In a recent development, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Dembe refused to hear the confession of Arnold Beverly in the case, stating Nov. 21 that she did not have jurisdiction. However, on Aug. 17, Dembe had the jurisdiction to deny Mumia access to his own hearing at which Dembe was the presiding judge.

Beverly’s sworn affidavit states that Faulkner was a victim of corrupt police officers and players in organized crime. Beverly has taken and passed polygraph examinations.

At a Nov. 28 press conference in Philadelphia’s City Hall, Julia Wright, the daughter of African-American novelist Richard Wright, spoke out to demand that Mayor John Street launch an investigation and begin a commission into the corruption that resulted in Abu-Jamal being condemned to death row.

Wright, a French citizen, told the World she was not surprised by the injustice in the case of Abu-Jamal, “but I am extremely concerned because there have been many wrongfully convicted in [the U.S.].”

Wright said, “They don’t want Beverly to open up a can of worms [dealing with police corruption in Philadelphia]. We say that Mumia’s life is worth opening up a hundred cans of worms.”