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Mumia Abu-Jamal Loses First Amendment Rights

February 8, 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal is well known for the wrongful conviction of murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, and has since been on death row until it was announced on December 7, 2011 that prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty. However, Abu-Jamal was swiftly removed from death row and had been placed in solitary confinement for seven weeks. A statement released by an Abu-Jamal spokesperson revealed:

“he is in solitary confinement, with lights glaring 24/7, without adequate food, or the opportunity to buy food to supplement his diet. He is shackled and handcuffed whenever outside his solitary cell—including when he goes to shower. And he is isolated without regular phone calls, or access to his property, including legal materials, books and typewriter. His visiting hours are limited. In short, Mumia is being subjected to conditions in AC that are more onerous than those on death row. There is no legal basis for Mumia to be confined in Administrative Custody. At the point he was no longer under a death sentence, he should have been transferred into general population.”

“The degrading, dehumanizing, torturous conditions of Mumia Abu- Jamal’s confinement in administrative custody at SCI Mahanoy are an abuse of authority, counter to DOC regulations, punitive, discriminatory, in violation of his protected liberty interests and his civil rights, including First Amendment rights.”

Prior to his arrest, Abu-Jamal had been a member of the black panthers, a political activist, and radio journalist, becoming the president of Philadelphia association of Black Journalists. Following his death row sentence he has developed multiple radio commentaries including those published via his podcast “Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Radio Essays”, and he has published several books such as “Live From Death Row” and “Jailhouse Lawyers”.

Since being removed from death row, and placed in solitary confinement, his first amendment rights have been stripped leaving Mumia without his most basic rights. It is undeniable that there is substantial value in his voice, and the state is maliciously and purposefully imposing draconian measures to suppress this due to severe backlash following his removal from death row. Abu-Jamal reports that prison administration officials excused his placement in the hole, insinuating that they were awaiting the appropriate paperwork for his transfer.

Thankfully, Mumia had finally been transferred to the general prison population on 1/27/2012, however, the fight is not over, and we need to continue to work toward rightfully freeing Abu-Jamal.

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