Mumia's Battle Far From Over

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After almost 30 years of fighting, U.S. political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal's death sentence was overturned.

While some people have been celebrating, Ramona Africa issued a warning to supporters at a recent gathering. “First of all Mumia is an innocent man and should be released. His being taken off death row and given life in prison is not a victory. Mumia remains in prison because of who he is and what he does for our people. I see Mumia's move to the general population as being very dangerous.”

Abu-Jamal, a renowned journalist, political activist and former Black Panther, was convicted in the shooting death of police officer Daniel Falkner on December 9, 1981, even though he was critically wounded by Falkner's service weapon.

“Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Maureen Falkner portray this as Mumia being cut a break with a life sentence. Being in prison when you know you are innocent, and being messed with so much, no physical contact – can't touch anybody, is a living hell,” Ramona Africa continued. “We cannot afford to sit back. The Fraternal Order of Police control the prisons. These are the same people who dropped a bomb on me and my family, killing 11 people including our children, and put me in prison. Maureen Falkner has no interest in who really killed her husband, she is a puppet for the FOP and the government who are her ventriloquists. We must demand the release of Mumia,” she concluded.

Maureen is the widow of Officer Falkner. The bombing reference was to the attack on the members of MOVE, a self-help African nationalism organization of which Ramona Africa was a member, by aerial bombardment by the Philadelphia Police in 1985 on the orders of then Mayor Wilson Goode. Eleven people were killed when police dropped a bomb from a helicopter on the home of MOVE members; Ramona and a young child were the only survivors. Abu-Jamal as a journalist was a champion of MOVE and its rights.

Mumia Abu Jamal's case has garnered international support and exposes the persistent racism in the U.S. criminal justice system. Human rights activist Lateefah Carter said, “The decades of work people have done made this important step possible. Through the years we gone through
fierce battles in the courts and in the streets and we will never give up. We will keep on fighting until Mumia is free.”

Keedra Gibba, an educator and activist, echoed Carter's position. “I'm not ready for cheers. I don't see how life in prison is acceptable. There was no physical evidence of Mumia involvement in the shooting of the officer. The prosecutors know a new trial would be risky for them.”

New York City Councilman Charles Barron declared: “There will be no dancing in the street until Mumia is in the street!”

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