Death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Issue 

PictureIt is possible that Governor Tom Ridge will sign a new death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal soon, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The move is motivated by the state's desire to force Abu-Jamal's legal team to file for a writ of habeas corpus (which challenges the legality of Abu-Jamal's imprisonment) well before the October deadline. As well, schools and many organisations are on a break during August, and activists are dispersed, making protest actions harder to organise.

Abu-Jamal's petition to the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (asking for a review of the original court case) does not give him any kind of stay. The Supreme Court will grant a stay only if it grants the writ, and it is not expected to deal with the petition until the next court term begins in October.

In response to Ridge's signing of a death warrant in August 1995, 10,000 people from around the United States mobilised in Philadelphia and forced Ridge to rescind the warrant. On April 24, tens of thousands marched in both Philadelphia and San Francisco demanding a new trial for Abu-Jamal. The state is worried that a new trial would almost definitely prove that Abu-Jamal was framed.

Emergency local demonstrations are being proposed for the day after any signing of the death warrant.

For more information, visit <www.mumia.org>.