Press release (26-04-2011) For immediate release
Headline: New sentencing hearing for political prisoner and death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal
Source: Free Mumia Abu Jamal Defense Campaign (UK)
Contact: For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Tongogara: 020 8801 4731 or 07597078221
Sarah: 07962 561 529
Tuesday 26 April 2011: A US Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, Philadelphia, USA ordered a new sentencing hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal., a former Black Panther who has languished on death row for nearly 30 years, must have a new sentencing hearing within the next six months.
They set aside Abu-Jamal's death sentence over procedural irregularities during his trial, finding that the jury mistakenly had been led to believe that it could not consider mitigating factors against a death sentence.
Abu-Jamal has always stated his innocence and campaigners in UK, France, Africa, US and internationally are actively calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
Last Saturday the Free Mumia Abu Jamal Defense Campaign UK held a march and rally in Brixton, London to mark Mumia’s 58th birthday.
Notes for Editors:
Mumia was arrested during the early morning hours of 9 December 1981, in Philadelphia for the alleged murder of a police officer. A former member of the Black Panther Party and award winning journalist outspoken in his condemnation of police corruption and brutality, Mumia had attracted hostile attention of police and city authorities before his arrest.
Despite a plea of ‘Not Guilty’, Mumia was tried in 1982 and sentenced to death the following year. The trial was a tragic example of everything that can go wrong in a capital case. The proceedings were marked by racism, inept legal representation, and a bigoted and prejudiced judge. The defendant was too poor to hire a good lawyer, investigator, or essential forensic experts in such fields as ballistics and pathology. Amnesty International stated proceedings did not meet international standards for a fair trial.
At the time of his arrest, Mumia was already known as the "Voice of the Voiceless" for speaking on behalf of the dispossessed and against government misconduct and speaking out against racism and police corruption. He was President of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists.Today his weekly writings and radio commentaries from prison reach people in many countries.
Mumia Abu Jamal has always said his is not a special case. There are more than 20,000 people facing the death penalty worldwide. Opponents of the state too often face disappearances and extra-judicial killing. Imprisonment of political opponents to the state has led to miscarriages of justice here as well as in the US. Poverty and race are real contributory factors in the imprisonment and inhuman treatment of prisoners in our goals. Our campaign takes place in the context of deaths in police custody. Recent examples include Ian Tomlinson and Smiley Culture.
An online petition for President Barack Obama ‘Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty’, initially in 10 languages (Swahili and Turkish have since been added) has been signed by over 22,000 people from around the globe. Signatories include Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize); Günter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee), Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher and author); Ed Asner (actor); Elliott Gould (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); and Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); members of the European Parliament; members of the German
Mumia is now being defended by Judy Ritter Esq. in association with the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund. Judy Ritter Esq. has represented Mumia Abu Jamal since 2003.