Skip to comments.(More reason to hate the French) French delegation brings $50,000 to aid Mumia’s appeals
Posted on 02/18/2003 4:20:24 PM PST by doug from upland
As Mumia Abu-Jamal awaits appellate court rulings on two major appeals initiated by his new team of lawyers, he continues writing at a rapid rate, turning out columns for posting on the web site maintained by his Philadelphia-based support group, the International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
And he receives increasing support from people opposed to the death penalty in general and concerned about the injustices of his case in particular. Mumia got a firm indication of that support on July 29 when a delegation from France visited him at the prison and showed him a check for $50,000, given by contributors to the French Movement Against Racism and for Friendship with the Peoples (MRAP).
The visitors brought a letter of support from Danielle Mitterand, the former First Lady of France, who wrote: "Your presidents administration concentrates all its energy fighting terrorists of its own creation."
The group also informed Mumia that a section on his case has been included in a textbook used by high school students throughout France.
These gestures are only the latest of those given Mumia by supporters in France. Last December the Paris city government named him an honorary citizen - an honor given to only two others: Pablo Picasso in the 1970s and the writer Richard Wright in 1947.
The day after visiting Mumia, the French delegation gave a news conference in New York City, in the studio of the Pacifica Network radio station WBAI. The conference during WBAIs "Democracy Now" program was broadcast over the internet.
The $50,000 check was presented by Marie-Cecile Pla, representing MRAP, to Pam Africa, representing the Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia.
Pla said the $50,000 represented contributions by 1,700 individuals. "These are thousands of little pebbles that people are moving when they want to move a mountain," she said.
Leading the French delegation was Julia Wright, Richard Wrights daughter, who has lived in France since her father moved there in 1947 after the FBI demanded that he name people he had known as a one-time member of the Communist Party.
"Whatever has happened in France politically," she said, "the grass roots is still alive. And the youth have adopted Mumia. The youth know two heroes. They know that Che is a dead hero, but Mumia is a living hero, and they say theyre going to keep him alive."
Asked by WBAI host Amy Goodman how Mumia is bearing his continuing stay on Death Row, Wright replied: "Mumias strength is more than all of us put together. He is incredibly strong. He taught us yesterday. He was upright. He was in good health. He gave us an example of resistance, but it wasnt violent resistance; it was calm, solid, rock resistance."
Mumias demeanor also impressed Marcel Trillat, a television journalist.
"Its the type of moment you never forget," Trillat said. "After awhile you feel the plexiglass no longer exists. We were struck by the extraordinary dignity of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A total absence of aggressivity for instance. And that capacity, although hes on death row and isolated, of being able to be updated on all the events in the world, including France. But the most terrible wrench is to leave him behind and to leave the prison and to take the path of our freedom."
Trillat offered some advice to American journalists covering Mumias case.
"With all the new testimony, the new evidence thats come out, and confronted with the total refusal of the state courts to hear this new evidence, any journalist who is professional must be more than professional and become an activist to prevent a crime that is being prepared, a premeditated crime against an innocent man. For fellow journalists in America, it would be terrible for you to become the accomplice of such a crime."
Jackie Hortaut, representing the French General Labor Confederation, said that 60 French labor groups had joined to defend Mumia.
"First we worked on his file," he said. "We know all the details of his case, and we realized very quickly that this case is rampant with injustices, and he deserves another trial, a fair trial. And he was unjustly sentenced to die.
"And at the core of our struggle is the question, does the government, do people, have the right to snatch life away from another person? We believe that states, and state governments, do not have the right to apply the death penalty."
12/18/01 - Federal Judge William Yohn ruled against Mumia in his habeas corpus appeal today. However, Judge Yohn did rule that the sentencing aspect of Mumia's trial was invalid. He ordered the state of Pennsylvania to hold a new hearing within 180 days. If the state refuses in this time period, Judge Yohn said that he would impose a life sentence on Mumia. In Pennsylvania, a life sentence is without parole.
Apparently, that judgment was appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and it doesn't look like there's been a ruling.
Of course, there are even more pro-cop killer websites. One of them offers the following update:
10/30/02 - Mumia's case remains on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The appeal in the Third Circuit is from Judge Yohn's December 18, 2001 decision in which he overturned the death penalty, but upheld the conviction. The prosecution appealed overturning of the death penalty; Mumia's attorneys appealed upholding the conviction. That appeal is presently "stayed" (on hold) pending the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling on the state appeal.
i> The appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is from Judge Dembe's dismissal of Mumia's Petition for Post-Conviction Relief and/or Writ of Habeas Corpus, previously filed on July 3, 2001.
Mumia's attorneys filed their Opening Brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on August 27, 2002, the prosecution filed their Brief thereafter. Mumia's attorneys filed a Reply Brief on October 15, 2002, and also submitted a motion for leave to file a Supplemental Reply Brief. link