Partisan Defense Committee Press Release
8 December 2006
Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013
Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252
Mumia Is an Innocent Man—Free Him Now!
Down With U.S. House of Representatives’ Attack on Mumia Abu-Jamal!
The Partisan Defense Committee denounces the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on December 6 which attacked the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis for naming a street in honor of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The resolution, which passed 368 to 31 with support from both Republicans and Democrats, repeats the prosecution’s frame-up lies against Mumia. This resolution seeks to pave the way for the legal lynching of an innocent man! The resolution also “commends all police officers in the United States and throughout the world”—and this in the wake of the NYC police killing of Sean Bell in a 50-round fusillade on November 25, and the Atlanta police’s gunning down of 88-year-old Kathryn Johnston in her own home.
There are mountains of evidence proving Mumia Abu-Jamal’s innocence and the police/prosecution frame-up: there is no ballistics evidence, so-called eyewitnesses were coerced and Mumia’s confession was fabricated. In 2001 Rachel Wolkenstein (co-counsel for Mumia from 1995 to 1999) submitted an affidavit to the U.S. District Court detailing that evidence, including Arnold Beverly’s confession that he, not Mumia, killed Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Yet all the courts to which it has been presented have refused to hear the Beverly evidence. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mumia could raise only three issues on his appeal: the racially biased jury selection in his 1982 trial, the D.A.’s prejudicial summary argument that Mumia would have “appeal after appeal,” and the grossly biased post-conviction state hearings in the 1990s before Judge Albert Sabo (who a court reporter testified had said at the time of the original trial that he would help “fry the n----r”). These challenges should be heard in court. But the harsh reality is that the Court of Appeals—like every other court in this case—has refused to hear countless other violations of Mumia’s rights. Every aspect of Mumia’s case shows how much the capitalist rulers want him dead.
The House of Representatives’ overwhelming vote further drives home the depth of hatred the entire bourgeois state apparatus has for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a courageous, eloquent and unbroken fighter for black freedom and against racist repression. Mumia was framed up and falsely convicted for the murder of Faulkner because he is a talented journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless,” a former Black Panther, a supporter of the MOVE organization and an outspoken opponent of racism.
Partisan Defense Committee spokesman Rachel Wolkenstein was invited to and spoke as part of the delegation at the street-naming in Saint-Denis this past April. That event provoked months of a renewed campaign by police and government officials against Mumia. In a letter to the mayor of Paris dated October 30, Mumia denounced efforts by Philadelphia politicians to retaliate against Saint-Denis, writing that “the merchants of death” have a “campaign to not only kill me, but to wipe my name from the face of the earth. Why else would they care about a small street in St. Denis? Or an award of Citizen of Honor from the City of Light? The Empire thinks it is Master of the World and can tell all what to do” (see complete letter, appended).
In response to this vicious campaign, the Comité de Défense Sociale, the PDC’s fraternal legal and social defense organization in France, issued a leaflet on November 16 denouncing efforts by Philadelphia politicians to stifle growing support for Mumia: “This attack takes place when the international defense campaign for Mumia is once again gaining steam, a campaign that Philadelphia and its police are seeking to crush in the egg.”
More evidence of growing support for Mumia is the statement by the Partisan Defense Committee under the headline, “We Demand the Immediate Freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an Innocent Man” signed by hundreds of labor activists and prominent individuals, including Nobel Prize winners Nadine Gordimer and Dario Fo, Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates Jr., Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace, author Michael Eric Dyson, the poet Sonia Sanchez, New York City councilman Charles Barron and Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis. That statement was printed as a full-page ad in New York’s Amsterdam News (26 October), the Nation (20 November), and also in the Chicago Defender and the San Francisco Bay View.
The House resolution against Mumia comes at a crucial juncture in the legal proceedings. Mumia has submitted the final papers in his appeal of a federal court decision that affirmed his frame-up conviction while overturning the death sentence. After oral argument, the court could decide within months whether to reinstate the death penalty, to condemn him to the living death of life in prison or to grant a new trial. The latest offensive by Congress and the city of Philadelphia against Mumia underlines the need to mobilize now for his freedom.
On December 9 in Philadelphia, the Partisan Defense Committee will join a rally called by the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal on the 25th anniversary of Mumia’s arrest. The PDC understands that the capitalist state and its courts are not neutral institutions but organs of repression against the working class and the oppressed. Mumia’s freedom will not be won through reliance on the rigged “justice” system or on capitalist politicians, whether Democratic, Republican or Green. Our PDC contingent will march under the slogans: “For Class-Struggle Defense to Free Mumia Now! There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!”
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Mumia to Paris Officials: Tell Them "No"
Mumia Abu-Jamal sent the following letter, dated October 30, to the mayor of Paris.
My dear Monsieur Le Maire and City Councillors of Paris:
I’m informed that you and your colleagues received an insulting and somewhat threatening letter assuring you that my trial was fair, and my conviction and death sentence was just.
As for the fairness of the trial I invite you to read the Amnesty International report on my case to determine for yourselves if the trial or subsequent appeals were even remotely fair.
Only in America could a trial judge say (in the presence of a sworn court reporter), “I’ll help them fry the n----r,” and be considered fair.
Only in America could a state supreme court justice, Ron Castille, serve as chief prosecutor on direct appeal, and also sit as an appellate judge on the same case, and not recuse himself. What a fair appeal!
The trial featured lies, just as the threatening letter to you did.
If the trial was truly fair, why would the Philadelphia letter propose a deal?
That “deal,” by the way is but another lie, a devil’s bargain that they are powerless to grant under any stretch of American or international law.
The letter-writers are merchants of death who wish to trick you into their campaign to not only kill me, but to wipe my name from the face of the earth.
Why else would they care about a small street in St. Denis? Or an award of Citizen of Honor from the City of Light?
The Empire thinks it is Master of the World and can tell all what to do.
I respectfully request you to tell them, “No.”
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The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people. This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.