Free Mumia!

On March 9, a delegation visited Mumia at SCI Mahanoy Prison in Pennsylvania, made up of Jacky Hortaut of the French Collective for the Liberation of Mumia, Patrick Kamenka, representative of the French SNJ-CGT National Union of Journalists, and NWU President Larry Goldbetter representing the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The visit began with a message of solidarity from the President of the IFJ, and letting Mumia know that 600,000 journalists represented by the member unions in 150 countries stand with him. Mumia will from now on hold an IFJ press card and will have a regular column in the NWU newsletter. Last June at the IFJ World Congress in Oman, 150 trade-unionist journalists signed an open letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania demanding a review of his trial and his immediate release on health grounds.

During this three-hour visit, Mumia described how he and thousands of inmates were sickened and killed by Covid, which he blames on the prison administration and guards who are “mostly Trumpers,” who came and went and refused to be vaccinated or wear masks. Since the Covid pandemic, visits have been reduced to a minimum, as registrations are now only made online and it is not a simple process. Many families do not have internet access, and if you do, any errors are used as a pretext to deprive prisoners and their families visitation rights. The food is terrible. He said the best food was in the vending machines in the visitation area so we provided salad and fruit salad for him.

Despite his long, illegal imprisonment, serious health issues, and the loss of his wife Wadiya last year, Mumia is not defeated, far from it. He is working on a new book, an anthology of writings from formerly enslaved and incarcerated people, and getting accepted into a PhD program. He exercises three days a week and is now in good health. Mumia was eager to talk about the state of the world; wars and economic and social misery, climate upheaval, all consequences from his point of view of a capitalist system in deep crisis. He said the pandemic revealed, “the empire in a state of decay.”

Mumia is seeking a review of his trial so that he can be cleared and released. His lawyers recently gained access to hidden evidence contained in dozens of archived documents in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office clearly indicating multiple violations of the defendant’s rights.

FLASH: As we go to press, Judge Lucrecia Clemons, who is in charge of the appeal procedure, obtained after years of legal struggle, ruled against the application for a review of the original trial, which could have paved the way for Mumia’s release. This was the sixth time the PA courts have denied a Post Conviction Relief Petition by Mumia, despite literally boxes of newly discovered, and previously hidden evidence that was kept from his original trial.