Abolish the Death Penalty, February 2, 2007

Abolish the Death Penalty, Justice for Mumia Abu Jamal, Justice for Prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo
February 2, 2007

More than 3,000 prisoners sit on Death Row in America, awaiting the day when they will be electrocuted or poisoned to death by lethal injection. Mumia Abu Jamal is perhaps the best-known resident of Death Row. Like the prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, he has never had a just trial. Unlike the unfortunates languishing in those prisons of torture - most of whom are guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - Mumia did have a trial. But witnesses changed their testimony under pressure from the police (Mumia was convicted of killing a policeman, even though the evidence did not show his guilt), the trial judge was biased against him, and he had inadequate legal representation. Nevertheless, he was convicted and sentenced to death. Many other Death Row inmates have similar stories, and numbers have been put to death with the evidence used to convict them proven false after they have already been killed.

During the 25 years Mumia has been behind bars in Philadelphia, he has inspired people all around the world with his passionate articles, books, and radio essays decrying the situation of those on Death Row, prison conditions in general, racism, the horrors of the war in Iraq, the loss of freedom in America. Thousands from around the world have risen to his defense, calling for him to be freed, for him to have a fair trial, for the sentence of death to be commuted, for the death penalty to be abolished.

Twenty-five cities worldwide have honored Mumia for his indefatigable stand against injustice. Paris made him a Citizen of Honor, and St. Denis named a street after him. Enraged by this recognition (it calls into question the legal system that erroneously sentenced him, the barbaric U.S. prison system that keeps so many people on Death Row), a battery of lawyers and officials from Philadelphia charged Paris and St. Denis with a “crime of denial” and demanded (unsuccessfully) that the honors bestowed upon Mumia be withdrawn.

Americans Against the War (AAW) France salutes France for having abolished the death penalty and salutes the cities of Paris and St. Denis for taking such principled actions. AAW calls upon those concerned about the rights of all prisoners to:
  • Write to elected officials in countries having the death penalty and demand its abolition
  • Write to American Congressional representatives demanding the overturning of the Military Commissions Act, which legalizes torture and rescinds habeas corpus and other long-held prisoners' rights
  • Write to the Mayor of Philadelphia urging a new and just trial for Mumia
  • Write to Mayors Bertrand Delanoe and Didier Paillard thanking them for their support of Mumia Abu Jamal.

Americans Against the War France