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America does not build pyramids; it builds prisons. A much more monumental domestication project, involving millions of people, not mere thousands. The SICK’s domestication project today is a vast prisoner-warehousing complex, which produces the crime and criminals necessary to keep the people in fear in order to justify the current system of command and control – the police, prosecutors, courts and prisons – to keep everyone else in line. Yes, this means you outside these fences.
Kamau Sadiki’s daughter Ksisay has issued an urgent call for help: “Augusta State Medical Prison (ASMP) wants to amputate my father’s foot. He needs a wound specialist, not amputation! What started as a wound the size of a penny spread from lack of medical care and has caused his foot to get seriously infected. He has requested a wound specialist for some time, but the prison administrators have repeatedly denied him this care. My father is asking folks to call the prison and write letters.”
We concerned members of the international community call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, to release all relevant police and prosecution files and free Mumia Abu-Jamal now.
Just a few hours ago, I placed a call to my civil lawyer, Bret Grote of the Pittsburg-based Abolitionist Law Center. I could hear the excitement in his voice. “Did you hear the news yet?” he asked. I hadn’t. Then he told me that U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani granted our motion for a preliminary injunction, ordering heath care staff on the DOC’s Hepatitis Care Committee to cease their unconstitutional protocol in my case and to begin treatment of my hepatitis infection with direct-acting antiviral medications.
The great Black activist and artist Paul Robeson in 1958, in Carnegie Hall, sang the gospel song, “Balm in Gilead”: “♪There is a balm in Gilead, ♪To make the wounded whooole♪ ….” These words in song sprang back from over half a century, when the news emerged of a big pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences, Inc., buying the drug Sofosbuvir – and then tripling its preferred price – to treat hundreds of thousands of people suffering from Hepatitis C.
Mumia’s health is seriously deteriorating, as has been witnessed in recent weeks by his visiting doctor, clergy, counselors, teachers, family and friends. Evidence of intensifying hepatitis C symptoms and possible development of the diabetes that nearly killed him a year ago call for immediate and appropriate treatment. Mumia needs us again! Please call, fax and email now! Medical malfeasance and deliberate indifference at SCI-Mahanoy are killing Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Sen. Sanders, you have spoken out against the depredations of Big Pharma, refused to take donations from any of them, and call for “Medicare for all.” You’ve also spoken to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently in Pennsylvania there is a case before a federal court which embodies both of these battles, Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes. Mumia Abu-Jamal is suing to force the Department of Corrections to immediately provide him treatment with the Hep C drug.
Most Amerikans don’t know of Amerika’s sordid practices and its continued implications in the treatment of Mumia and its millions of others imprisoned. It is by design that they don’t, which is why officials determinedly persecute and aim to kill critical messengers like Mumia. This is why he has been under attack for decades, and why we cannot allow them to now succeed in murdering him by medical neglect.
Though on paper they took Mumia off death row, it seems like the government has opted to passively murder the activist under the cloak of bureaucratic immunity. The state seems intent to allow the Hepatitis C to “progress” until Mumia dies. This is just another case of murder by the hands of a racist system. They are content to cut costs by denying us proper healthcare. They’re killing our OGs y’all. Look at what they are doing to Mumia!
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.
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
“Who gets treated for hepatitis C?” is a medical decision for infectious disease specialists, not a question of “ethics, costs or access” for well-meaning executives. “Who pays?” depends on measuring the real social costs of failing to treat a national epidemic and cannot be measured by the limited considerations of private entities and public agencies in a single state, or even several states.
Just prior to the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba on Sept. 19, the Cuban government has announced the release of 3,522 people being held in the country’s jails. This humanitarian gesture will include prisoners who are over 60 years of age, younger than 20, those with chronic illnesses, women and those who are close to their release dates. Why couldn’t Obama follow the Cuban example before Pope Francis continues on his tour to the U.S. on Sept. 22?
Mumia’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit charging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections with medical neglect. On Sept. 5, prison staff boxed up all Mumia’s personal effects from his cell while he was in the prison infirmary trying to recover from the prison’s medical malfeasance and neglect that nearly killed him. A retaliatory transfer to some other prison would be a new blow against Mumia’s health, and would steep him and his family in greater fear and uncertainty.
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.
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.
As a prisoner at Pelican Bay’s Short Corridor, I had to laugh in disgust at the audacity of the Department of Corruption’s motion to rescind the medical receiver appointed by the federal court after decades of inadequate medical care. Here at Pelican Bay’s SHU, it is common knowledge that the Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) Unit actually make the medical decisions by way of the chief medical officer.