Jul 30, 2001
There are new developments in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for almost two decades in a case which sprang from the December 1981 killing of a policeman in Philadelphia. Mumia, who had been active in the Black Panthers as a young man and was an outspoken reporter in 1981, had systematically been targeted for police harassment before he was arrested in the police killing and almost certainly framed up for this murder.
On May 4th of this year, Mumia filed with the courts a confession his lawyers had discovered. Arnold Beverly says he was hired by the mob in Philadelphia to kill policeman Daniel Faulkner because Faulkner had been interfering with rackets that other Philadelphia police were protecting for payoffs. This confession was subsequently backed up by the administration of a polygraph test to Beverly and by testimony from a former FBI informant who was giving information on corruption in Philadelphia during the time of Faulkner’s murder.
Nonetheless, on July 19, U.S. Judge William Yohn refused to let the new evidence be heard in court. According to Judge Yohn, Mumia had waited too long.
Due to the campaign being waged in this country and abroad in Mumia’s defense, money has now been raised to get the evidence he needs. But in his original trial Mumia, like other poor defendants, had a court-appointed lawyer who was overworked and had no money for investigators to obtain all possible evidence. His lack of competency is shown by the fact he was later disbarred.
Nonetheless, the courts are using technical pretexts to prevent Mumia from proving his innocence.
On Friday August 17, Mumia will appear in the Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia. This is a hearing to consider issues opened by Mumia’s lawyers. Supporters of Mumia are urging all those who can to attend a demonstration in front of the court on that day. The biggest possible turnout shows that Mumia doesn’t stand alone, that this legal lynching won’t pass.