Justice and Injustice, A Life in the Balance: “Mumia Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes”


Part Horror story, part farce: the words just jump off the pages of Preliminary Injunction Transcript of  “Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes” from Federal Court in late December. Read them here.

At every turn, the perfidy of Laura Neal of the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the highly paid “experts” such as Jay Cowan infamously, the Medical Director for Corizon at Riker’s Island in New York,  are revealed.  Neal and company were shameless, but at the end of the three-day hearing were completely exposed.

These pages expose the DOC ‘delay and deny’ strategy as they tried every procedural exhaustion argument to get the case dismissed and lost. A highlight on the second day of trial was the release of the “The Secret Hepatitis C Protocol” that they desperately tried to hide from public view.

And the coup de grace: the Chief Medical Officer of the PA DOC noted from the witness stand that the DOC had altered and submitted his affidavit after he repeatedly told them it was false. His testimony undercut Cowan’s faulty science. Cowan stated there was a probability of Mumia developing fibrosis, a precursor to cirrhosis.  Dr. Noel stated in damning testimony that there was a 63% probability that Mumia already has extensive cirrhosis. That was the first time that anyone, including Mumia, had heard this.

This hearing exposed the fact that Mumia is just one person among many, potentially thousands, who have active hepatitis C yet are being allowed to die, alone, often chained with their right arm and left leg to hospital beds. It is undisputed that there is medical cure for Hepatitis C: one pill a day for 12 weeks. Yet for over two years 10,000 prisoners with active hepatitis C remain untreated.  Many are dying from cirrhosis, are untreated in solitary confinement “Hep C Care Clinics”. Dare we say death clinics.

The DOC testified that this Fall they began treating five prisoners who tested positive for esophageal varices. They die when the blood vessels in their throat explode and they bleed out.   The bottom line is that any other prisoner with hep C symptoms, including cirrhosis, remains untreated and at risk of death.

It’s hard to hold the knowledge of just how grossly inhumane the situation is, but it is wise to look it straight on and confront it. Prisons are a direct path from slavery to the present day commodification of Black bodies. It is cheaper for the PA contracted medical provider, Correct Care Solutions, to not treat our brothers, sisters, fathers, and loved ones. And the reason that people folks are in prison is systematic white supremacy and racism.  Important reads on this are Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington and  Acres of Skin by Alan Hornblum.

Please know that your support made it possible for Bret Grote (Abolitionist Law Center), Robert Boyle, and Mumia’s medical team led by Corey Weinstein, MD to this case before the court. This case is historic. We can win, and we must win.

Whether or not Mumia receives life-saving treatment will be decided from the bench. In three weeks, briefs are due from Mumia’s team and the DOC. Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani will then make his ruling, likely by late March or April.

For more information, see our hepatitis C fact-sheet here.

Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,

Noelle Hanrahan

Noelle Hanrahan


PS- Sign on to our Color of Change petition to demand hep C treatment for Mumia! Once you sign, please share with your friends, family and community.

PPS- Mumia’s Legal Fund is still open for donations! Click here to make a contribution to support his legal team’s critical work as they file their briefs.

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Articles by: Prison Radio

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