Prison refuses Mumia medical care as his 61st birthday is celebrated worldwide – update: Mumia GRAVELY ill

Urgent update: Mumia was seen yesterday by his wife and his condition has worsened. He is gravely ill.

Mumia needs 24-hour care and supervision. Now in general population, he may not be able ask for help and may lose consciousness. He was released from the infirmary three days ago.

He is extremely swollen across his body. He can only take baby steps. He was nodding off during the visit. He was unable to eat and had to be fed with a spoon. These symptoms could be associated with hyper glucose levels, diabetic shock, diabetic coma and kidney stress and failure.

CALL NOW AND DEMAND THAT:

  • Mumia see a doctor ASAP.
  • Prison officials call his wife Wadiya Jamal and lawyer Bret Grote.
  • He be seen immediately and not be left to go into diabetic coma.

These are the most important people to call, fax or email; more are listed here:

  • SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes, 570-773-2158, ext. 8102, fax 570-783-2008, 301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 17932
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500, governor@PA.gov, 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120
  • Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, 717-728-4109, fax 717-728-4178, ra-contactdoc@poc.gov, 1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050
  • Department of Corrections Press Secretary Susan McNaughton, 717-728-4025, smcnaughto@pa.gov; until she returns April 29 from vacation, contact Deputy Press Secretary Susan Bensinger at sbensinger@pa.gov.

by Prison Radio

Mumia is still in medical danger. He is weak, in the infirmary, and continues to need a wheelchair to come out to visits. In a phone call on Monday, his voice was hesitant and lacked its usual vibrancy.

In New York City, the stars are coming out for Mumia on the eve of his 61st birthday.
In New York City, the stars are coming out for Mumia on the eve of his 61st birthday.

On April 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections notified Mumia’s attorney, Bret Grote, of the Abolitionist Law Center that it would:

  • Not allow Mumia to be examined by his own doctor;
  • Not allow Mumia to be examined by an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist);
  • And they denied access for the doctor to communicate with prison medical staff to assist or direct Mumia’s care; and the prison has refused to provide for regular phone calls between Mumia and his doctor. Currently, Mumia can only use the phone every other day for only 15 minutes, as the infirmary does not have phone access.

Mumia is being held in the very infirmary that caused his chronic conditions of eczema and late-onset diabetes to become life-threatening. The medical personnel on site were prevented from ordering tests when he was ill in mid-March and are under the same prison and corporate restrictions today.

One positive note: At this time, Mumia is being allowed to monitor his own blood sugar multiple times a day, and he is receiving insulin. Since Mumia was hospitalized in ICU on March 30 with life threatening complications from chronic conditions, we have been advocating for his treatment. We have to step up our efforts.

Take action now!

Demand that the Department of Corrections permit Mumia to have an examination by his doctor! Click here to call and fax the prison and state officials and state our demands.

Visit the Mumia Abu-Jamal Needs Medical Care NOW! campaign. Comment on or view this announcement here. Respond directly to the campaign owner here.

Help spread the word about the campaign!

Prison Radio has been recording and distributing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commentaries for over 20 years and can be reached at info@prisonradio.org.

'Free Mumia!' bright red

No execution by medical neglect! Save Mumia’s life!

by Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Political prisoner and revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal has been the victim of criminal neglect by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for months, and his life is in grave danger.

The problem began in January with a severe skin rash which spread to Mumia’s entire body. When he asked for treatment, he was given antibiotics and steroids, but these led to allergic reactions, including extreme swelling from his feet to his head, and severe blisters. His skin was tight and crusted. Mumia told his wife Wadiya Jamal and other visitors that a prison doctor said he looked like he was “in a suit of armor,” with “his chest raised up to his chin to create space to breathe.”

On April 24, 1999, Mumia’s 45th birthday, the International Longshore Workers Union, ILWU, shut down West Coast ports to make their call for his freedom a front-page story.
On April 24, 1999, Mumia’s 45th birthday, the International Longshore Workers Union, ILWU, shut down West Coast ports to make their call for his freedom a front-page story.

Obviously he should have been taken to the hospital immediately, but he was not. On Feb. 17, he was admitted to the prison infirmary for a week, then sent back to his cell, where his condition continued to deteriorate.

On March 30, 2015, Mumia walked into the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy and fell unconscious, suffering from what was then an undiagnosed and untreated diabetes – this despite three blood samples that had been taken. FINALLY, he was taken to a hospital and treated in the ICU at the Schuylkill Medical Center for three days.

He was in a state of diabetic shock, with a blood sugar level of 779. If this level had been just a bit higher, he would have gone into a coma and likely died. He was dehydrated and his sodium level was 168. These conditions show that the wretched treatment and lack of proper medical care of the state prison had almost succeeded in killing Mumia!

Brooklyn will celebrate Mumia’s 61st birthday on April 25 this year.
Brooklyn will celebrate Mumia’s 61st birthday on April 25 this year.

Sign the petition to help save and free – Mumia. Go to https://www.change.org/p/john-e-wetzel-pa-secretary-of-corrections-tom-wolf-pa-governor-stop-the-medical-execution-of-mumia-abu-jamal-by-neglect-and-malpractice-3

After allowing Mumia’s wife and brother a brief visit on March 31, the prison authorities changed the rules and prevented his family from visiting. An international uproar and hundreds of calls to Pennsylvania state and prison authorities resulted in family visits being allowed again, but a new rule specified only one visit by a close family member per week. Calls are still needed to demand more frequent family visits. (See phone numbers, below.)

Mumia was transferred back to prison on April 1, to the same prison infirmary that failed to properly diagnose or treat him before the hospitalization. Although his condition is somewhat improved from just before his hospitalization, he is weakened by a drastic weight loss of over 80 pounds in about five weeks, and his situation remains grave. On April 2, Mumia collapsed in the prison infirmary bathroom and lay on the floor for 45 minutes before being found by a doctor and prisoner.

Mumia’s life is still in danger

Now in a manually operated wheelchair, Mumia is very weak, his skin is still raw and blistered, and he has some difficulty breathing. While his mind is still sharp, he suffers from some loss in the ability to retrieve words. As described by Suzanne Ross of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC), following her visit with Mumia on April 13:

Campaigns to free Mumia are active in many European and Latin American countries. This march was in London on Dec. 9, 2011.
Campaigns to free Mumia are active in many European and Latin American countries. This march was in London on Dec. 9, 2011.

“Mumia was very alert and deep – as usual filled with extensive historical knowledge – as we discussed some of the same kinds of political issues we generally discuss when I visit. He was occasionally even humorous.

“His spirit and intellect remain unquestionably Mumia. But he is concerned about some loss in his ability to retrieve words – aphasia-like symptoms – and he sometimes experiences fugue states. He apparently did not experience any of these symptoms while I was there.

“Very notable to me was the trauma all this has imposed on Mumia – major, major, major physical and emotional trauma. He feels the steroids given him for his initial skin problem brought on the diabetes, and now the life threatening diabetic picture, not to mention the pain, the itching, the shaking, and the memory issues he described. ALL DONE TO HIM, IMPOSED ON HIM.”

(See Ross’ full report at http://www.freemumia.com/2015/04/mumia-hospitalized/#apr1.)

Mumia’s plight is typical for long-term prisoners

Mumia activists celebrate the fifth anniversary of the naming of a street for Mumia, Rue Mumia Abu Jamal, in Saint Denis, a suburb of Paris.
Mumia activists celebrate the fifth anniversary of the naming of a street for Mumia, Rue Mumia Abu Jamal, in Saint Denis, a suburb of Paris.

The mass incarceration policies in the U.S., increasingly administered by private corporations interested only in their bottom line, create hellish conditions for their captive victims, particularly those on “slow death row” (sentenced to life without the possibility of parole), as is Mumia. Mumia is the first one to point this out, and, despite the stress of his present situation, to advocate for other prisoners and the oppressed and exploited in general.

As Heidi Bogosian and Johanna Fernandez point out in their recent piece, “A slow death for Mumia Abu-Jamal and thousands of prisoners in America”:

“Mumia’s condition highlights the systemic neglect and abuse of prisoners in our nation’s vast and ever growing system of mass incarceration. A daily diet high in carbohydrates, salt and sugar has left an estimated 80,000 suffering from diabetes.

This poster, showing how Mumia’s appearance has changed drastically from 2012 to 2015, is being used by FIST to organize rallies for his 61st birthday in Philadelphia on April 24, 4 p.m., at 15th and Market; in Boston on April 26, 2 p.m., at the screening of “Mumia: Innocent and Framed” at 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain; and in Rockford, Illinois, April 24, 1-2 p.m., at the Rockford Downtown Jail.
This poster, showing how Mumia’s appearance has changed drastically from 2012 to 2015, is being used by FIST to organize rallies for his 61st birthday in Philadelphia on April 24, 4 p.m., at 15th and Market; in Boston on April 26, 2 p.m., at the screening of “Mumia: Innocent and Framed” at 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain; and in Rockford, Illinois, April 24, 1-2 p.m., at the Rockford Downtown Jail.

“Compounding the inadequate nutrition is the sub-par medical care provided by a vast for-profit provider that reaps some $1.5 billion a year in profits from prison healthcare contracts. Using an HMO model that puts cost-cutting above all, Corizon Correctional Healthcare has paid millions in legal settlements over inadequate or bungled treatment.

“Not surprisingly, the Bureau of Justice reported some 40 percent of prisoners and jail inmates in 2011-2012 reporting chronic medical conditions such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure – and diabetes.”

Heidi Boghosian is a lawyer in New York City, and Johanna Fernandez is assistant professor of history at Baruch College. Both are longtime advocates for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Mumia needs all of us to help now!

Targeted by police, prosecutors and the FBI from a young age, Mumia was framed in a blatantly unfair trial for a crime he didn’t commit in 1982. Since then, state and federal courts have continued to cover up this atrocity by refusing to hear or act on overwhelming evidence that explodes the frame-up and should set him free.

Also since then, Mumia has dedicated his 33 years of life in prison to exposing the racism, imperialism and other crimes of this capitalist system within which we all live, as shown in his hundreds of recorded commentaries and numerous books.

Students at Ernesto Faria School in Rio de Janeiro joined a teachers’ union work stoppage for Mumia Abu-Jamal on his 45th birthday, April 24, 1999. Demanding freedom for Mumia and protesting against racism and the death penalty, workers in Brazil and the United States carried out work stoppages on April 23 and 24. In Brazil, schools in the city and state of Rio de Janeiro stopped classes for one hour on day and evening shifts in defense of the former Black Panther and renowned black journalist. The State Teachers and Education Workers Union (SEPE) also co-sponsored a demonstration outside the American consulate on April 23.
Students at Ernesto Faria School in Rio de Janeiro joined a teachers’ union work stoppage for Mumia Abu-Jamal on his 45th birthday, April 24, 1999. Demanding freedom for Mumia and protesting against racism and the death penalty, workers in Brazil and the United States carried out work stoppages on April 23 and 24. In Brazil, schools in the city and state of Rio de Janeiro stopped classes for one hour on day and evening shifts in defense of the former Black Panther and renowned black journalist. The State Teachers and Education Workers Union (SEPE) also co-sponsored a demonstration outside the American consulate on April 23.

Now we must step up!

Mumia needs his own physician specialists! Please donate now to help make this possible. Please go to the web site below and give as generously as you can. Donate at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mumia-abu-jamal-needs-medical-care-now.

Sign the petition to help save – and free – Mumia, at https://www.change.org/p/john-e-wetzel-pa-secretary-of-corrections-tom-wolf-pa-governor-stop-the-medical-execution-of-mumia-abu-jamal-by-neglect-and-malpractice-3.

Also, we need to keep up the pressure with phone calls:

Let SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing and that they have daily access rights to examine and treat him. Also let them know that Mumia’s family needs regular and frequent visitation rights.

  • SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes, 570-773-2158
  • SCI Mahanoy Chief Health Care Administrator Steinhardt, 570-773-2158
  • Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Health Care Services Director Christopher Oppman, 717-728-5309
  • Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, 717-728-4109

No execution by medical neglect! Save Mumia’s life!

Mumia is innocent! Free Mumia now!

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal is a group of union activists dedicated to educating workers about Jamal’s case and promoting labor action in solidarity with his struggle. Their founding statement, dated Jan. 10, 1999, is posted here.

On April 18 in Berlin, 200 people marched from the city center to the U.S. Embassy to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal by medical neglect. They distributed thousands of fliers calling for holding Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf, Corrections Secretary Wetzel and prison warden Kerestes responsible.

This poster advertises the celebration for Mumia’s 61st birthday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Carolina, who sent it and is part of the very large and active campaign in Mexico to free Mumia, says: “We shouldn’t fail to point out that a number of other political prisoners in the U.S. have serious health issues and that too many have died of deliberate medical neglect and a slow death policy that rids the state of its most hated enemies. Of course Phil Africa is fresh on our minds and there’s also Merle Africa, Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington, Kuwasi Balagoon, Teddy ‘Jah’ Heath, Bashir Hameed and Richard Williams. Then too, there are those who died shortly after being released: Herman Wallace and Marilyn Buck. None of them were sick before they went to prison. You have probably also seen that on International Political Prisoner Day the Palestinian prisoners are highlighting ever worsening health conditions and abuses that amount to an attempt on their lives. A focus of their protests this year is the death of recently freed prisoner Jaafar Ibrahim Awad last week.”
This poster advertises the celebration for Mumia’s 61st birthday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Carolina, who sent it and is part of the very large and active campaign in Mexico to free Mumia, says: “We shouldn’t fail to point out that a number of other political prisoners in the U.S. have serious health issues and that too many have died of deliberate medical neglect and a slow death policy that rids the state of its most hated enemies. Of course Phil Africa is fresh on our minds and there’s also Merle Africa, Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington, Kuwasi Balagoon, Teddy ‘Jah’ Heath, Bashir Hameed and Richard Williams. Then too, there are those who died shortly after being released: Herman Wallace and Marilyn Buck. None of them were sick before they went to prison. You have probably also seen that on International Political Prisoner Day the Palestinian prisoners are highlighting ever worsening health conditions and abuses that amount to an attempt on their lives. A focus of their protests this year is the death of recently freed prisoner Jaafar Ibrahim Awad last week.”