Fight for Mumia's Life Enters New Stage
Philadelphia, PA – On October 13 1999, Governor Ridge of Pennsylvania signed a new warrant for “the execution by lethal injection of Mumia Abu-Jamal of Philadelphia.” The execution date is set for December 2.
Governor Ridge decided to sign Jamal's warrant despite the fact that Mumia still has appeals remaining. He is choosing to ignore the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations' recent call for a moratorium on all executions until the death penalty system is proven just.
One of the system's infirmities, acknowledged by the bar associations, has to do with racial prejudice. While nine percent of Pennsylvania's total population is African-American, for example, the percentage on death row is nearly seven times that amount (62%). This is the largest racial disparity of any state in the U.S.
A federal judge is expected to issue a stay of execution within the next few days. From there the appeal process will continue. The federal judge who gets this case is not required to grant a hearing. He could simply read the trial transcripts and issue a ruling. In fact, the 1996 federal law is specifically designed to discourage federal courts from reviewing and overturning death sentences handed down in the state courts. This is why the government has to hear a loud popular demand for a new trial for Mumia.
Mumia's immediate response was: “This is just the next stage of the fight. We will continue to fight. We will win!”
In general, action in the federal courts will go much faster than it did in the state courts. Thus we are now entering the final phase of the battle to save Mumia's life. This is why we must proceed with a greater sense of urgency and determination.
Steff Yorek, Political Secretary of Freedom Road Socialist Organization said, “Justice for Mumia Abu Jamal will represent not simply justice for the man but also a victory against racism and national oppression. A victory for him will mean a victory for all of us. To make this happen we need to make his case an issue everywhere.”
Background and Source: PRNewswire