- Created: Thursday, 16 June 2011 10:07
- Written by FRFI
On 26 April, framed political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal won a crucial victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit unanimously declared his death sentence unconstitutional.
Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and radical journalist, has spent 29 years on death row, falsely condemned for killing a white policeman in Philadelphia in 1982.
The Court of Appeals reaffirmed its 2008 finding that Mumia’s original sentencing jury was misled about the process for considering evidence supporting a life sentence and that the death penalty in his case was therefore unconstitutional. The state must either hold a new sentencing hearing, or drop the death penalty in favour of life imprisonment. However, the state remains as insatiable as ever in its desire to silence Mumia permanently, and is appealing to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal finding. Mumia’s supporters are hopeful that he will also win there.
While this is an important legal victory for Mumia – and for all those campaigning against the barbarity of the death penalty - the huge injustice remains that he is still denied a new trial, despite the clear evidence of the frame-up perpetrated against him by a racist police force and racist state, and the many procedural injustices of his first trial. However, his new legal team, led by Christina Swarns of the NAACP and Judith Ritter of Widener University Law School insist their defence strategy is not only to resist any attempt to re-impose Mumia’s death penalty but also to overturn his conviction.
Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Abolish the death penalty!