In April, death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied a new trial. The appeal was based on evidence that showed the systematic use of racism during the original frame-up trial where Jamal was convicted of killing a Philadelphia cop in 1981.
By Jesse Lessinger, CWI (United States)
Abu-Jamal, a political journalist and activist, was targeted by FBI as early as age 15 for his involvement in the Black Panther Party. His case has received more national and international attention than any other death row case but he is certainly not alone.
There are currently over 3,000 inmates waiting to be executed and 42% of them are black. The death penalty is a racist and completely ineffective method of justice and should be abolished. It is one of many racist policies upheld by the courts or carried out by the police which are used to systematically criminalize and repress black people and Latinos.
This frame-up, conviction and death sentence Abu-Jamal received was not simply because of his race. He is a political prisoner who has spoken out against police brutality and economic injustice. His case is a reminder to us all that the ruling elite, which controls the laws, courts and police, is prepared to persecute anyone who speaks out against it and anyone perceived as a threat.
Abu-Jamal should be given the opportunity to defend his case with a new, fair trail. At the same time we should have no faith that this system will bring him justice. In April, the long-awaited verdict of the Sean Bell case was delivered. The three cops on trial for the murder of an unarmed Bell in a barrage of 50 bullets outside a club in Queens, New York, were acquitted on all charges ranging from reckless endangerment to manslaughter. The verdict was yet another rubber stamp on the widespread policy of police brutality in the NYPD.
The only way to confront these policies is by organizing in our communities and mobilizing working people and youth. It was mass protests both nationally and internationally that saved Abu-Jamal from execution in 1995. We must be prepared to organize mass protests if they dare to announce plans for his execution. We must also mobilize to challenge every injustice of this corrupt system.