Munich, Germany Resolution on Mumia Abu-Jamal

SPD (Social-Democratic Party) – Parliamentary Group
Alliance 90/The Greens/Pink List – Parliamentary Group
FDP (Liberal-Democratic Party) – Parliamentary Group
Die LINKE (Left Party) – Parliamentary Group

Resolution on the Occasion of the Full Meeting of the Munich City Council

– October 28, 2009 –

As a municipality which considerately follows constitutional principles and is committed to just and sustainable ways of development, Munich regards it as its duty to be actively engaged in the worldwide protection of human rights and to not look the other way when governmental abuse infringes on human dignity. In accord with this, the Capital of the State of Bavaria, Munich, has repeatedly taken a stance for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty, particularly in the context of the initiative “Cities for Life – Cities against the Death Penalty,” in which several hundred major cities on all continents have participated.

The death penalty is a barbaric act of state violence that constitutes an affront against human dignity. It becomes outright murder whenever the question of guilt has not been unequivocally resolved, such as in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. This African American journalist and civil rights activist has been on death row in the United States for 27 years, accused of having allegedly killed a white police officer. Ever since then, Abu-Jamal has insisted on his innocence, and human rights organizations have pointed to egregious procedural mistakes in Abu-Jamal’s original trial, which were obviously rooted in a background of prevalent racism.

For these reasons, we join the world-wide solidarity campaign for Mumia Abu-Jamal and demand a new, fair trial for him. The United States of America are rightfully proud of the oldest democratic constitution of the world with its guarantee of equal rights for all. However, this role model function also obliges the state in question to an extremely careful and humane evaluation of each individual case. As a matter of course, the legal principle in dubio pro reo (or “the benefit of the doubt”) is of particular, increased importance in all cases that involve the death penalty.

Beyond this particular case, the Munich City Council of course continues to demand the complete abolition of the death penalty. Particularly in friendly states such as the U.S.A., the decision to do away with it is long overdue.