Governor signs death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Issue 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge has signed a death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal and set August 17 at 10pm for the execution of this former Black Panther Party spokesperson and award-winning journalist.

Human rights groups, labour unions, and other organisations all over the world are fighting for Jamal's life, believing him the victim of a racist frame-up.

Jamal's counsel, Len Weinglass, stated, "Governor Ridge is well aware that Jamal's attorneys are sat to file legal papers seeking a new trial and the setting aside of Jamal's death sentence on Monday morning in the Court of Common Pleas. By his actions, Governor Tom Ridge has shown his policy to be a vengeful race to death with alarming indifference to the judicial process ... Mumia was convicted for a crime he did not commit and sentenced to death for his political views and history as a member of the Black Panther Party."

Spearheading the crusade against Jamal are Philadelphia cops. The publication of Jamal's book Live from Death Row has sent the cops into a frenzy to speed his execution. On May 14, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) escalated their campaign against Jamal by inviting President Clinton to appear at their national gathering alongside Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the police officer Jamal is falsely accused of killing.

Tens of thousands of people have signed petitions or sent individual letters to the Pennsylvania governor demanding that Jamal not be executed. Among Jamal's supporters are Harry Belafonte, Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, Congressman Ron Dellums, Pennsylvania state representative David Richardson, Jr, Whoopi Goldberg and actor Mike Farrell, who together with Ossie Davis is co-chair of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Unions representing millions more have also demanded that Jamal not die. In the last week messages of support for Jamal have been sent by the Congress of South African Trade unions and M.C. Ramaphosa, secretary general of the African National Congress. Forty-four members of the British parliament signed a motion calling on Ridge not to sign the death warrant.