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Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook April 24, 1954) is a black journalist and political activist. He is most famous for his 1982 conviction and death sentence on charges of murder, and for the large subsequent campaigns for and against him.

Before his conviction, Abu-Jamal was a Philadelphia journalist. He began his career at the age of 15 as the Lieutenant Minister of Information with the Philadelphia Black Panther Party. He was also a prominent supporter of the black nationalist group MOVE, and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

On December 9, 1981, white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner[?] pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook, for driving the wrong way on a one-way street with his lights out. Abu-Jamal, who was driving a cab at the time, happened on the scene. In an ensuing struggle, both Abu-Jamal and Faulkner were shot; Faulkner in the back and in the face; Faulkner died and Abu-Jamal was wounded. Abu-Jamal was arrested at 4am with a pistol registered in his name at his side.

On July 3, 1982, Abu-Jamal was convicted of Faulkner's murder and sentenced to death. In addition to a conventional criminal defense, Abu Jamal raised many political issues in his trial.

His case has become a popular cause among many people, including black nationalist and anti-racist activists, anti-globalization movement activists, human rights activists, and opponents of the death penalty. Many supporters have called for a new trial, his release from prison, or the commutation of his sentence to life in prison.

Daniel Faulkner's family and the Fraternal Order of Police[?] believe that Abu-Jamal killed Faulkner while Faulkner was engaged in a legal, justified arrest.

Abu Jamal's supporters claim that the trial was unfair. Points raised in his appeals, or by his supporters, include:

  • Incompetent representation by a lawyer who was later disbarred - allowed only $150 to interview witnesses.
  • Of the twelve sitting jurors, only one was black. Abu-Jamal's supporters claim that the prosecution requested the removal of many black potential jurors specifically because they were black.
  • The presiding judge, Albert F. Sabo[?], had a reputation as a judge with a bias toward convictions. He has sentenced more men to die (31 to date, only two of them white) than any other sitting judge in the United States.
  • conflicting testimony and missing witnesses

Abu Jamal's conviction has been upheld in both state and federal courts. In December 2001, a federal judge affirmed his murder conviction but ordered that Abu-Jamal should either receive a new sentencing hearing or have his sentence commuted to life in prison because of an error by the trial judge in presenting rules of sentencing to the jury.

Since his imprisonment, Abu-Jamal has continued his political activism, publishing Live from Death Row, a book on life inside prisons, as well as making frequent commentaries on left-wing radio shows.

External Links

  • www.danielfaulkner.com (http://www.danielfaulkner.com), one of the few web sites presenting the case against Abu-Jamal. Includes refutations of many defense assertions and articles on the 2001 affirmation of the conviction.
  • http://www.freemumia.org, a pro-Abu-Jamal activism and advocacy page
  • The Case of Mumia Abu Jamal (http://www.sff.net/people/tbisson/mumia), by Terry Bisson from New York Newsday, 1995
  • Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal (http://www.grandlodgefop.org/faulkner/projamal) as listed by the Fraternal Order of Police
  • Transcripts (http://www.justice4danielfaulkner.com/index) of Mumia Abu Jamal's 1981 trial.
  • Live from Death Row, HarperTrade 1996) ISBN 0380727668



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