Mumia Abu-Jamal

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Nov 10 12:44:27 MST 1999


[please re-post and distribute widely. Excuse duplicate postings.]


November 10, 1999

To All Supporters of Democratic Rights:

Dear Sisters and Brothers Across the Globe:

I am writing to inform you that the International Committee to Save Mumia
Abu-Jamal has selected the date of January 12, 2000, for an international
delegation to Washington to demand justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

[For background information on the International Committee to Save Mumia,
see Attachment #1 below.]

Our goal is to bring together in the nation's capital  leaders, luminaries
well-known  personalities who support the demand for a new trial.

The "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" [see copy of the text below] and the
proposal for a delegation have received enthusiastic support the world over.
Our aim is to assemble in this delegation members of the Congressional
Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus, as well as other legislators, trade union
leaders from this country and abroad, leaders of  the civil rights movement,
clergy, political leaders from other countries (such as members of the
Parliament), Nobel Prize Laureates, and, of course, spokespersons for the
Mumia movement.

The proposed plan for this event is to hold a well-prepared news
conference in Washington, D.C., on January 12 with a broad array of national
and international speakers. At the conclusion of the news conference, those
assembled would march as a group to the White House and to the Justice
Department to deliver the Open Letter, together with lists of all signers,
and to
make a statement.

An all-out campaign will be waged to get agreement from the White House and
the Justice Department to receive our delegation. We are proceeding with the
expectation that if the delegation is sufficiently broad, it will be
received by
top-ranking officials.

I call upon all supporters of democratic rights in the United States and
the globe to help us gather hundreds of thousands of signatures in
support of the "Open Letter to Bill Clinton." Let us serve notice to Bill
Clinton that the eyes of the world are on his administration and that
Clinton must use the powers of his office to ensure the conditions for a
new and fair trial for Mumia.

I also call upon you to select from the trade unions and/or  your community
organizations in your different countries the delegates who could join us in
Washington on January 12.

-- International endorsements and proposals for the delegation to Washington
should be sent to:

International Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, c/o International Liaison
Committee for a Workers' International, 87, rue du Faubourg St. Denis,
75010, Paris, France. Email: <cimumia at>

-- U.S. endorsements and proposals for the delegation to Washington should
be sent to:

Open World Conference, c/o San Francisco Labor Council, 1188 Franklin St.
Suite 203, San Francisco, CA 94109.  Fax: (415) 440-9297. Note: Email
correspondence should be sent to Jerry Gordon, Secretary,
International Delegation to Washington at <JANDB99 at> and/or to
<owc at>.

We must act quickly to win justice for Mumia!

Thank you for your support.

Hasta la Victoria,

Baldemar Velasquez,
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO)
and Convener,
International Delegation to Washington


Attachment #1:

Text of the  "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" issued by International Committee
to Save Mumia:

"Mr. President, We call upon you because you have  the power to prevent an
irreparable injustice: the execution of Mumia  Abu-Jamal.

"The Supreme Court of the United States has just rejected without
any commentary the appeal submitted by Mumia Abu-Jamal's lawyers.
Whatever our country, our nationality, our political, philosophical or
opinions, or the color of our skin, we the undersigned are staunch defenders
of human rights and justice. Mr. President: You know that any objective
examination of the conditions of Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial shows that his
elementary right to a fair trial was denied to him. In such conditions, his
execution would be but an act of legalized murder.

"You have the power and  duty to prevent this. In the name of justice, to
which all citizens have a  right, we call upon you with a sense of urgency
and ask you to use the powers of your office to prevent the execution of
Mumia Abu-Jamal and to ensure him the conditions for a new and fair trial."


Attachment #2

Origin of the International Committee to Save Mumia

The origin of this initiative is as follows: A rally of close to 10,000
unionists and activists was held in Paris on October 15, 1999, to build
support for the Open World Conference in Defense of Trade Union Independence
and Democratic Rights (OWC), which will be held in San Francisco on February
11-14 of the year 2000.

[For more information on the OWC, contact <owc at>; for more information
on the International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International (ILC),
co-sponsored the Paris rally, contact <ilc at>.]

The Paris rally, held at the Palais des Sports [Sports Palace], was chaired
Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee
(FLOC/AFL-CIO) and co-chair of the Labor Party in the United States.
Speakers from trade unions and political parties from all continents
the crowd.  One of the focal points of the Paris rally was the fight to free
Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Tetevi Norbert Gbikpi-Benissan,  president of the Federation of Independent
Trade Unions of Togo (UNSIT) and convener of the International Tribunal on
Africa, reported on the recent six-city tour of the United States which he
Lybon Tiyani Mabasa, president of the Socialist Party of Azania (South
had conducted with the goal of building support for the African Tribunal.
Gbikpi-Benissan spoke of his multiple discussions with activists and
leaders of
the African American freedom struggle regarding the need to deepen and widen
the fight to free Mumia. He also reported on the decision of Pennsylvania
Governor Thomas Ridge to sign a death warrant for Mumia on December 2.
Given the urgent situation, it was now necessary to step up the fight to free
Mumia,  Gbikpi-Benissan insisted.

Speaking on behalf of himself and Lybon Mabasa, Gbikpi-Benissan proposed
to the rally and its keynote speakers that they promote an "Open Letter to
Clinton" demanding that he intervene and direct the Justice Department to
conduct an immediate investigation into the violation of Mumia's civil
rights at the
hands of the Philadelphia police. Such a campaign, he said, would strengthen
the fight to stop the execution and win a fair trial.

The Paris rally, with its participants from 30 countries, enthusiastically
a massive signature-gathering campaign in support of this Open Letter.
The campaign would include mass protest actions at U.S. embassies and
consulates the world over, as well as high-level, broad-based delegations to
the U.S. embassies. All the speakers on the platform, coming from different
trade union and political traditions, agreed to constitute themselves as an
International Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal with the goal of
promoting massive support for the "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" and
an international delegation to Washington to deliver these petitions.

[For a list of the initial members of the International Committee to Save
and for the list of new sponsors in close to 70 countries to this date,
<cimumia at>]


Attachment #3


By Jim Lafferty (exec, director, Los Angeles chapter, National Lawyers Guild)

Under the U.S. Constitution, Clinton cannot commute Mumia's sentence, but he
could direct Janet Reno and the Justice Department to conduct an
investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department to determine if Mumia's
civil rights were violated.

It is important to point out that the Justice Department over the years has
conducted a number of investigations of the Philadelphia Police Department.
It has been disclosed that the Prosecutor's Office was systematically
training its subordinates in how to make sure that not too
many Blacks would serve on a jury. As a result, it is estimated that as many
as 300 to 400 cases might have to be retried.

There is a long list of violations of Mumia's rights by the Philadelphia
courts and the police. One of the issues in Mumia's trial is precisely the
exclusion of Black jurors. Another involves the denial of Mumia's right to
represent himself. Yet another involves so much of the trial being conducted
with Mumia excluded from the courtroom and denied the right to hear the
testimony against him. Mumia's lawyers, moreover, have proven that police
threatened witnesses if they testified on Mumia's behalf, and witnesses æ who
have recanted their testimony æ have testified to that effect. Other
witnesses sentenced for other crimes were given leniency if they fingered
Mumia. The bullets were lost, the gun that allegedly killed Officer Faulkner
could not have been fired by Mumia, and the police failed to conduct tests on
Mumia's hands which could have shown he did not fire a gun and thus was
innocent of the crime with which he was charged.

There is no doubt that there is evidence of a pattern of conspiracy on the
part of the Philadelphia police and the prosecutor to deprive Mumia of his
civil rights. And the reason for this is obvious: Mumia has been a staunch
advocate of civil rights for others. He has been outspoken in exposing police
abuse in Philadelphia for years prior to his arrest.

Among the laws that appear to have been violated in Mumia's case are 14 U.S.
Section 1985 and 18 U.S. Section 241 and 242.

It is worth noting that the Justice Department could claim that it can do
nothing because the statute of limitations has run out with regard to alleged
police violations of Mumia's civil rights that occurred 17 years ago. This
claim cannot be sustained. There is a legal statute - 18 U.S. C183682 - that
stipulates that if there is an ongoing pattern of civil rights violations,
the statute of limitations does not run out until the last act has ended. In
the case of Mumia, there has been on ongoing conspiracy. His rights in jail
have been violated, new threats against potential witnesses have been
documented, and the list goes on. Within the last five years there have been
numerous violations of Mumia's civil rights.

The Federal Judge assigned to review Mumia's case has a number of choices
before him. He could review the record and determine there have been no
errors, thereby upholding Mumia's conviction. Or he could find there were
serious errors and order a summary judgment in Mumia's favor. Or he could
order an evidentiary hearing.

Mumia's lawyers are pushing for a full evidentiary hearing as the basis for a
new trial. If the Justice Department were to conduct an investigation into
Mumia's case and find that some of the allegations of Mumia's lawyers are in
fact true, this would greatly assist the call for a full evidentiary hearing
- and therefore a new trial. It would be a boon to the case. Clinton has the
power to direct the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights
investigation. We must demand that he do so. This is a case that cries out
for the most thorough investigation. Here you have a president who has stated
publicly many times that he wants to improve race relations in the United
States. You have a president who claims to champion civil rights. You would
think that he would want to establish the entire truth in a highly charged
and volatile case such as this. And he certainly has the power to uncover the
entire truth.

Louis Proyect

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