Mumia Supporters Return from France, Algiers, England and Germany


Mumia Supporters in France








On November 9th 250 people gathered at the US Embassy in London led by the Pan-African Association and the Free Mumia organization of the city of London. This was one of the largest gatherings held in London for Mumia in recent years. A trans-Atlantic hook-up with Mumia supporters at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia took place linking the Mumia supporters in Philadelphia with those in London. That caught the interest of the US Embassy.

On November 23 Suzanne Ross and I flew to London on an
invitation from Mumia supporters. The next day they took part in a
Pan-Afrikan Association meeting which was well attended with groupings that ranged from Black Nationalist, Cultural Nationalist, Revolutionary Nationalist African petit bourgeois and a few African Marxists.

Several people in the group were very informed about Mumia’s case, even regarding the latest legal developments, and clearly saw him as a brother they cared about deeply. Because of the high level of knowledge in the group and the excellent updates provided
by members of the Free Mumia Committee, the discussion moved toward the nature of the Mumia movement in the US.

We fielded questions from the floor, many questioning why Suzanne
(a white woman) was involved in the liberation of Mumia. I explained
the historical role white people have played from abolitionist
days (underground railroad) to Viola Liuzzo and Goodman, Schwerner all assassinated for their roles in the Black Liberation Struggle in America. Suzanne was congratulated by the group for appearing at their meeting.

It was the first time the group was able to sit down and question a
Caucasian male or female on their politics and they told her they were very enlightened by her answers.

A question of great interest to the group was Obama. How much hope for change did he provide say for Mumia? When we tried to explain the limitations of Obama, and what the negative indications were so far, and I tried to explain the role of the likes of Sharpton and Jackson a great debate followed. Some were offended by any criticism of Black “leaders”.

The next day I appeared on Vox Africa a TV show called “Shoot the Messenger” hosted by a well-known Afrikan personality in London, Henry Bonsu, that has a very wide viewing audience including France but especially Africa. Suzanne had been interviewed very
intelligently and incisively by Bonsu on Mumia’s case earlier in the week on his London radio show.

Suzanne and Sadiq also appeared on a Black radio station in
Brixton, an African community that is undergoing gentrification and an increase in police terror toward Africans.

The following day we participated in an anti war march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square that had about 6,000 marchers and very few people of color speaking despite a large number of immigrants and Africans among the marchers.

The next day we participated in a demonstration in front of a police
station in Brixton organized by the Uhuru organization. This was a protest about the growing number of young Black males killed by police.

We attended a gala dinner organized by the Pan-African
Association that included the best food I had eaten since being in London. I was being hosted by a vegetarian that ate greens and porridge every morning and night.

We both left London on the 27th with Sadiq returning to New York and Suzanne departing for the Algiers Conference to present Mumia’s case to that North African gathering.





Sisters, brothers, comrades:

I speak on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the International Concerned
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and, in particular, its chairperson
and leader, Pam Africa.

I am honored to be here today and we are very grateful for this opportunity
to address you all. Our special appreciation to the Workers Party of Algeria,
and its legendary leader Louisa Hanoune, to the General Union of Algerian
Workers and its leader Abdel Majid Sidi Said, and to the International
Liaison Committee for Workers and People and its leader Daniel Gluckstein.
I would also like to thank Alan Benjamin for generously including and
facilitating our participation in the US delegation, and to acknowledge my
sister and comrade, Colia Clark.

I must start with how moving it has been to be here and have so many of you
approach me to express your solidarity with Mumia, your revolutionary love
and admiration for him, and to ask with such eagerness, “How is Mumia?
What is happening to him legally? Many of you have done so much over the
years in the struggle to free Mumia. I can only say that Mumia truly belongs
to the people of the world!

Mumia was widely recognized as a brilliant, very gifted, and charismatic
activist when only 14 years old and living in Philadelphia. When he
joined the Black Panther Party at age 15 he became the editor of the Party
newspaper and, later a radio journalist with a large following on Black radio
stations. No sooner had he become a conscious person with a public stance
against oppression, when he faced the orders of J. Edgar Hoover, head of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to target and “neutralize”, which
meant imprison or execute, potential “Black Messiahs”, those young people
who showed potential of becoming leaders of the Black Movement. Mumia
was clearly one such person. The FBI records show that Mumia was under
the surveillance of the FBI and the police from the time he was 14 years old
despite having no history of criminal conduct or violence. This was part
of a program frequently called COINTELPRO, or the counterintelligence

program directed against potential leaders of the struggle, particularly
those who were Black. Once he joined the Black Panther Party he clearly
became more despised by the FBI and police. The final straw was when he
became a supporter of the MOVE organization. MOVE is the revolutionary
organization that Mumia has supported since 1978. It is the organization
on which the city of Philadelphia dropped a bomb, killing six adults and
five children, and destroyed a block and a half of a middle class Black
neighborhood despite no evidence of a crime.

US government agencies and its agents killed Malcolm, they killed Dr.
King, and they assassinated the young Panther leader, Chairman Fred
Hampton. But the son of Chairman Fred Hampton, survived in his mother’s
belly and Fred Hampton, Jr. today, has formed an organization the Prisoners
of Conscience Committee, is a very strong and principled activist, a big
supporter and friend of Mumia, and carrying on the struggle. And we are
all carrying on the struggle to free Mumia. We have succeeded, and the
international movement was key, in keeping the US killing machine from
executing Mumia on three different occasions. It is for that reason alone that
our brother is alive today.

Even from death row, Mumia is a leading anti-imperialist voice, listened to
eagerly or read throughout the world based on his six published books and
his hundreds of articles, speeches or commentaries. Mumia’s incarceration
is an embodiment of the evil of the US Empire — its racism, its injustice,
its prison industrial complex with over 2 million people, mostly Black and
Brown, locked up in its dungeons, and more than 3000 people on Death
Row. Dozens of political prisoners, leaders in the 1960’s and 1970’s
now in their late 60’s or 70’s, also languish in these prisons. Some were
targeted like Mumia. Others have been forced to serve extraordinarily
long sentences, denied parole despite their impressive histories of serving
their communities even while in prison. They are used to serve as an
example to young people: never oppose the system or face a long life and
ultimate death in prison. Several of these heroic fighters have indeed died
during their incarceration, often as a result of the denial of proper medical
care. Additionally, since 9/11, thousands of Muslims have been arbitrarily
rounded up, many disappeared, others deported, all treated as “terrorists”
without any rule of law.

Mumia’s case is a 29 year history of police and court conspiracy, with
powerful conservative forces behind them, in which all the rules were

broken to convict him and sentence him to death. Amnesty International
along with hundreds of lawyers’ and human rights organizations across
the globe issued a report in 2000 denouncing the whole trial and appeals
process, calling for a new and fair trial. Millions of people around the
world have been convinced of Mumia’s actual innocence, especially in
the face of new evidence that totally contradicts the prosecution’s version
of what happened on the night of the killing of the policeman, and the
extensive evidence of Mumia’s innocence which had been withheld from
Mumia’s lawyers by both the police and the prosecution.

But recently the system’s enforcers have become more arrogant. Briefly, the
history of Mumia’s legal case was that he was convicted and sentenced to
death in 1982. In 2001, a “liberal” federal judge reaffirmed Mumia’s guilt.
To this date no judge of the many involved in this case over the 29 years
even raised the possibility of Mumia’s innocence or even the possibility
of a new trial to address the question of guilt v. innocence. But this same
judge, William Yohn, changed Mumia’s sentence from execution to “life in
prison without parole” based on a procedural violation in the original judge’s
instructions to the jury. This ruling was appealed and was thus not finalized,
so Mumia remained on Death Row and has remained so to this day. But
it was nonetheless the presumed sentence and the question of execution
did not loom as heavily for those watching the case carefully. In 2008 a
higher federal court affirmed that decision, reaffirming the guilty verdict but
supporting the sentence of life in prison without parole. The Supreme Court
in 2009 let that decision stand. We concluded (as many of us had before)
that the court process allowing even a small chance of overturning Mumia’s
conviction was over and that we had to challenge the whole legal process in
some dramatic way.

Knowing that that the Department of Justice has the authority to review
situations of gross violation of civil rights, police misconduct, and even
judicial misconduct we moved to call on the Department of Justice to
investigate this case of almost 30 years of due process violations and an
obvious COINTELPRO conspiracy to silence and “neutralize” yet another
Black leader.

In January of 2010 the forces aligned against Mumia decided to escalate
their assault, assuming that there was only limited support for him at this
moment in history. They clearly thought they could pursue their original
goal of totally and finally silencing this voice for justice and resistance.

Using the flimsy pretext of a case they had ruled on only days earlier in
which a life in prison sentence was reversed to the original death sentence,
they moved quickly to cite that case as a precedent for reinstating the death
sentence on Mumia.

In the context of this court ruling, by September 2010 the enemy was
arrogant in its confidence that this time they could really succeed in killing
Mumia. They had a Black district attorney in Philadelphia who was
supporting execution, a Black mayor who was sympathetic to execution, and
now a Black film maker (supported by the police organization that had been
clamoring for Mumia’s execution for 29 years) who was preparing a “hit
piece”, a film to portray Mumia as a lifelong hater of police who couldn’t
wait for his first opportunity to kill one.

But they underestimated the love for Mumia, the importance of his case
to millions around the world, and the potential strength of our movement.
On September 23 their film premiered, counterposed by an excellent film
produced by a Mumia supporter that presented key new evidence that
pointed to Mumia’s innocence. The sister’s film was reviewed much
more positively than the “hit piece” and really stole the thunder from
this major piece of the enemy’s strategy. Adding to their arrogance, the
District Attorney’s office proposed a debate between him and an attorney
supportive of both Mumia and the MOVE organization. We added the two
film makers to the debate and lo and behold the night before the November
9th hearing before the Third Circuit took place, at a very prestigious setting
in Philadelphia, Constitution Center, the four debaters met for the “Great
Debate”. The ignorance (or pretended ignorance) of the District Attorney,
and the sheer reliance of both him and the filmmaker on allegations about
Mumia, or the conclusions of the much discredited trial and appeals process,
made these two “debaters” unable to respond to the presentation of new
evidence challenging the validity of the whole trial. Our side “won” so
unquestionably that people arrived strong for the next day’s hearing. Once
again, both in the courtroom and in the powerful rally outside, and with
reports of dozens of demonstration across Europe, in Brazil, Mexico,
Guadaluoupe, and even in New Zealand the movement was significantly

The call for Mumia’s possible execution angered people around the world as
demonstrated not only in the street protests and press releases but even with
the international human rights organizations. Amnesty International, which

had not commented on Mumia’s case since 2000, released a statement from
Laura Moye, director of its USA Death Penalty Abolition Campaign saying
that “Re-imposing the death penalty would be intolerable. Mumia Abu-
Jamal should receive a new trial, not a new death sentence.” Additionally,
the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), in which the US participated for
the first time ever, issued a set of recommendations for the US to bring its
human rights policies and practices in line with international standards. The
UN Human Rights Council recommended to the US that it “end the unjust
incarceration of political prisoners, including Leonard Peltier and Mumia

This Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation caps the
reinvigoration of the international solidarity movement and heightens its
promise and historic reality.

We ask you today to endorse our campaign demanding that the Department
of Justice conduct a thorough investigation of the conspiracy to silence
and kill Mumia Abu-Jamal. Such an investigation would have to examine
the extensive violations of Mumia’s due process rights during both the
trial and the appeals process, the police terroristic tactics with witnesses
and Mumia supporters, the new evidence, that is, photographs previously
hidden from the defense that demonstrate that the prosecutor’s version of
what happened the night of the crime was fabricated, and demonstrate that
the police tampered with critical evidence. The investigation would also
have to include an assessment of the role of COINTELPRO in setting up the
possibility for Mumia’s legal lynching.

We need your help in forcing President Obama and Attorney General Eric
Holder to conduct this type of serious investigation that would inevitably
lead to the overturning of Mumia’s conviction and his ultimate freedom. To
date, Attorney General Eric Holder and his subordinates at the Department
of Justice have refused to meet with us or respond seriously to our campaign
even though we’ve twice delivered tens of thousands of letters to them
and had strong press conferences in Washington, DC. We believe this
conference and an international delegation emanating from this conference
could make that happen.

We have no high hopes or expectations that either President Obama or
Attorney General Eric Holder is eager to overturn the denial of justice for
Mumia. Both support the death penalty, both have sanctioned continued

torture, war, and exploitation. Neither has shown any sign of deviating
significantly from the Bush era international and domestic politics. Our
strategy is to wage a strong enough international effort to FORCE them to
respond. The international movement has tremendous power to call the US
on its bluff on the issue of human rights, which it has the nerve to lecture
on to any nation which dissents from the world economic order that the US
leads. We do not go to them begging for their help. We go to them in angry
denunciation of the outrageous US “judicial” system, and in particular the
world-wide denunciation of the legal situation for Mumia, with the threat of
embarrassing them in various international forums and making their work in
those forums impossible.

We look forward to working with the international community represented
here today and thank you again for inviting us here, and for your many years
of support for Mumia and for justice.