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I’m writing on behalf of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal to ask if you might help us in an emergency. The Committee is the official fundraising venue for Mumia’s legal defense today. It has been raising funds, quietly, since Mumia was facing execution in the ‘90s. Since Mumia fell ill, we have been behind on payments to Mumia’s lead health attorney and we need to raise funds – quickly. Would you consider making a donation and identifying one or two others who might do the same?
July 11, 2016, Pittsburgh, Penn. – A settlement has been reached in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenged the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. This brings an end to litigation begun in 2013. In February 2014, following an international campaign on behalf of Shoatz, he was released from solitary confinement.
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 Aug. 3, 2015, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawyers filed an amended lawsuit suing Pennsylvania state prison staff for medical neglect. Two days prior, Abu-Jamal was informed by prison medical staff that he has active Hepatitis C, which his outside doctors believe is the underlying cause of severe medical conditions. The prison is currently refusing to provide Abu-Jamal with any treatment for Hepatitis C.
Although states across this country have banned executions where the public can freely attend, some contend that the American public is again witnessing the spectacle of a public execution. This current spectacle of governmental killing involves a high-profile inmate in Pennsylvania that evidence indicates is quite possibly experiencing a “slow execution” through calculated medical mistreatment.
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. He is weak, in the infirmary, and continues to need a wheelchair to come out to visits. Mumia needs all of us to help now! Sign the petition to help save – and free – Mumia. Also, we need to keep up the pressure with phone calls. No execution by medical neglect! Save Mumia’s life!
Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.
In an attempt to curry favor from the Fraternal Order of Police and conservative voters, Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Corbett, Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and the majority of state legislators – all of whom have sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution – have removed Mumia Abu-Jamal’s right to free speech from the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions in order to permanently gag him.
“My talk with Maroon today was very moving. There are no words to adequately convey the significance of his release to the general population for him and his family. This is a significant victory for a growing people’s movement against solitary confinement and the human rights violations inherent in mass incarceration. If we continue to work hard and support one another in this movement, these victories could very well become a habit.”
The Human Rights Coalition (HRC), politicized prisoner Robert Saleem Holbrook and College of Charleston Professor Kristi Brian brought a lawsuit on Jan. 8 against several employees of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Coal Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for confiscation of mail sent to Holbrook, a co-founder of HRC currently held at SCI Coal Township.
The Free Russell Maroon Shoatz website describes him this way: “Russell Maroon Shoatz is a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. He is serving multiple life sentences as a U.S.-held prisoner of war.” Shoatz has been locked in solitary confinement at various state prisons for the past 22 years, 28 of the past 30 years.
An estimated 80,000 men, women and even children are being held in solitary confinement on any given day in U.S. prisons. If the struggle to end inhumane treatment inside prisons is to become anything more than a largely apolitical movement for so-called “civil rights,” it must put two long-ignored points back on the agenda: race and revolution.
The release of Abu-Jamal from administrative custody into general population followed a protest campaign by his supporters worldwide that included flooding Pennsylvania prison authorities with phone calls, collecting petitions containing over 5,000 signatures and a complaint filed with United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
On Dec. 9, 2010, thousands of prisoners in at least six Georgia state prisons initiated the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history, uniting across racial boundaries to demand an immediate end to the cruel and dehumanizing conditions that damage prisoners, their families and the communities they return to. Readers are invited to add their names to this solidarity statement.
President Barack Obama has clearly stated, “We don’t torture.” Oh, yes we do. Big time. A myriad of studies have clearly shown that human beings are social creatures – making prolonged isolation torture.