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Political prisoner Mike Africa Sr. was finally released on Oct. 23, after more than 40 years in prison. He is one of the MOVE 9 who were unjustly convicted and sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison following the 1978 police attack on the MOVE organization in Philadelphia. With son Mike Africa Jr., he made his way straight home to Mike Jr.’s house after leaving SCI Phoenix. Waiting for them was MOVE 9 member Debbie Africa, Mike Sr.’s spouse, who had been released this June 19.
Booms and bangs shatter eardrums, and the shuffling of many feet sparks fear among neighbors. A young mother, Paula Clarke, and her two daughters, are rudely awakened by these early morning sounds and noises. “I thought that [it was] terrorism, nothing else,” Clarke later told a reporter. In a way, it was. But it was state terrorism, where dozens of cops invaded public housing projects – as if it was a foreign country. Why? They were searching for members of gangs, they said.
It was an amazing day in Scranton, Penn., with more than 100 people inside and outside the courtroom. Folks joined us from all over the East Coast. The judge, Robert Mariani, began by reading an excerpt from the papers Mumia filed with the court, citing the life threatening conditions he suffered when he was hospitalized on March 30, 2015. The judge referred to those conditions as “serious,” signaling to all in attendance that he meant business.
On Dec. 9, 2015, in cities around the world, supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal marked his 34th year of wrongful incarceration. Finally, on Dec. 18, we have a rare, one-time opportunity to get Mumia the medical attention he desperately needs. U.S. Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani will conduct an extensive public hearing on Mumia’s medical crisis and has asked for testimony from Mumia. Credit for this victory is due in no small part to the public outcry.
Mumia struggled to get out of his wheelchair so that we could take a photo of him. We share these photos to give you a sense of the gravity of Mumia’s condition. He has lost over 50 pounds, and his entire body is covered with a hard, leathery layer of jet-black skin, that is bloody, painful and itchy. Yet he chuckled as he read letters from school children. Keep calling to demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed to evaluate and treat him immediately. A National Day of Action has been called for Friday, April 10. The Bay Area rally is at 4 p.m. in front of the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay St. Be there! And listen to the Block Report Radio interview with Mumia’s son, Jamal.
Those standing up against police brutality and state repression in Ferguson, Missouri, are leading one of the most important human rights struggles of our time. The militarized repression on display in Ferguson is a reflection of a world in crisis. Although separated by thousands of miles, the plight of the people of Ferguson and the Gaza Strip share too much in common for people of conscience to ignore.