Partisan Defense Committee Press Release

23 October 2008

Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013


Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252

Partisan Defense Committee Says:
“There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Free Mumia Now!”

Philadelphia D.A. Seeks Execution for Mumia Abu-Jamal

In an ominous development, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office has announced that it is again seeking the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man who has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for 26 years. The D.A.’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, which must be filed by November 19, opposes the federal Third Circuit Court’s ruling this past spring that affirmed a 2001 decision by Judge William Yohn striking down Mumia’s death sentence. That decision also upheld Mumia’s frame-up conviction. Mumia was framed up for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981 and sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. Since his youth in the Black Panthers, Mumia, a MOVE supporter and eloquent journalist, has been targeted by the racist rulers because of his courageous defense of the oppressed.

Mumia’s attorney Robert Bryan will also be filing an appeal to the Supreme Court, which is centered on the racist exclusion of black jurors in the jury selection.  Should the Supreme Court grant the D.A.’s demand for Mumia’s execution, his death sentence would be reimposed with no new trial. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, could agree with Bryan’s appeal, thus putting Mumia back into the racist Philadelphia court system to be tried again. The Court could also deny both petitions, thus leaving Mumia facing either life in prison or a new death sentence in a new sentencing hearing.

 Partisan Defense Committee spokesperson Rachel Wolkenstein, who served on Mumia’s legal team from 1995 to 1999, pointed out: “The D.A.’s announcement is an outrage. We have no reason to expect a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, which has refused to hear four previous petitions by Mumia’s attorneys. The Supreme Court is the highest court of America’s capitalist rulers, the class enemy of workers, black people and all the oppressed.  Recently, that court gave the state of Georgia free rein to execute Troy Davis, despite the recantation of virtually every witness who testified against him, many under police coercion.” Wolkenstein added, “We have always advocated pursuing all possible legal proceedings, and though it is a possibility, however remote, that the Supreme Court could order a new trial which could lead to an acquittal, we have no faith in the capitalist courts, which over the decades have refused to hear the mountains of evidence of Mumia’s innocence, including the confession of Arnold Beverly that he killed Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Our fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal is based on a strategy of mass protest centered on the multiracial working class, which has the power to make the courts yield. As we often say, we place all our faith in the power of the masses and no faith whatsoever in the ‘justice’ of the courts.”

The PDC is asking that people contribute to Mumia’s legal defense, by making checks payable to “National Lawyers Guild Foundation” (earmarked “Mumia” on bottom left) and mail to: Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, P.O. Box 2012, New York, NY 10159-2012.

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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.