Calling to Free Mumia
Supporters Rally for Convicted Journalist
September 19, 2006 11:16 AM
More than 100 people gathered Friday afternoon at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland to support Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist who has been on Philadelphia’s death row for more than two decades.
The rally was organized by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose goal was to inform the public that Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1982 for killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, will soon proceed with what could be his last federal court appeal to save his life.
Many protesters wore shirts and buttons that read “Free Mumia” and “Abolish the Racist Death Penalty.”
Some supporters believe the police targeted Abu-Jamal for his involvement with the Black Panthers and for reporting and uncovering stories of racism, corruption and brutality within the Philadelphia Police Department. Supporters, including Abu-Jamul’s lead attorney Robert Bryan, also argue that Abu-Jamul’s trial was unfair and violated constitutional rights including the use of racism in selecting the jury and the judge‘s strong display of bias against Abu-Jamal.
Bryan was unable to attend the rally but weeks before he had posted a letter on www.freemumia.org. According to the Sept. 3 letter, Bryan will submit the appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia on Oct. 3.
“Our purpose is to win this life-and-death struggle, gain a new and fair trial, and see our client walk out of jail a free person,” Bryan said in the letter.
Kiilu Nyasha, a radio journalist and former Black Panther, told the rally participants that Abu-Jamal has received tremendous international support. Recently, city officials in Saint-Denis, a city in France, named a street after Abu-Jamal.
“Now why in the name of hell can’t we do that for our own brother here in the United States?” Nyasha asked.
“We’ve reached a critical point and it’s crucial for more people to join in the fight to free Mumia,” said PDC member Diana Coleman.
She participated in the April 1999 “Free Mumia” rally in San Francisco and said it was the largest she has attended.
“Almost 20,000 people protested and gathered at San Francisco’s City Hall,” Coleman said while pointing to the crowd. “Where are they now? It’s pretty sad.”
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