Mumia Abu-Jamal 30th Anniversary Protest At US Embassy London
30 Years after the killing for which Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death in 1982, supporters of "the world's most famous death-row inmate" protest outside the US Embassy calling for his release. London, United Kingdom. 9th December 2011
30 Years after the killing for which Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death in 1982, supporters of "the world's most famous death-row inmate" protested outside the US Embassy calling for his release from prison. London, UK. 9/12/2011
Mumia Abu-Jamal, often known simply as Mumia, was arrested after an incident in which police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Mumia had allegedly run across from his parked taxi to intervene when his younger brother was stopped by police at 4am, and was wounded by a shot from Faulkner's gun. A revolver registered to Mumia which had fired five shots was found at the scene.
Mumia, a journalist and former Black Panther, was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death in 1982. The police had failed to carry out tests to show that he had fired the gun, and Mumia and his supporters claimed that the verdict was a racist one, with a predominantly white jury, ineffective legal support and incorrect direction to the jury by a racist judge. Another man is also alleged to have admitted to the crime.
While in jail he wrote the book 'Live From Death Row' (1995) in which he described his life in jail and the corrupt racist nature of the US Justice system. Thousand around the world have supported the 'Free Mumia' movement, protesting around the world against his continued imprisonment and the racist US justice system.
His sentence has been upheld through various legal appeals, but more recently, a federal appeals court decided that a new sentencing hearing was needed as the instructions the jury were given were potentially misleading. In October the US Supreme Court decided not to consider the case, and rather than going to a new sentencing hearing to try and get the death sentence confirmed, the prosecutors accepted that his sentence be reduced to life imprisonment.
Around 40 people had arrived at the protest outside the US Embassy when I left, most arriving marching behind the 'Free Mumia' banner. There were several speeches and a lengthy statement about the life imprisonment decision was read out.
Although many around the world have welcomed the decision to drop the death sentence, the mood of the protesters was very much that the life sentence was still unacceptable. Mumia was innocent of the crime and in prison because of his race and his revolutionary views, held by a racist system. Protests will undoubtedly continue until justice is obtained and Mumia is a free man.