Pennsylvania Lawmakers Attempt to Silence Mumia Abu-Jamal

Of note: Tues. Dec. 9th, 1981 (34yrs ago) Abu-Jamal was critically wounded at 13th and Locust in Philadelphia.  He was arrested for the shooting death of Philadephia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal spent 30yrs on death row, and remains in prison. Abu-Jamal has authored nine books, his political imprisonment has lead to world leaders calling for his release.

“Based on even a minimal following of international human rights standards, Mumia should be released. I ask District Attorney Seth Williams to rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights and justice. Allow Mumia Abu-Jamal to be released immediately.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

For more information  [email protected]415-706-5222

Death for a Cigarette” (2:23)
12/4/14 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
12/3/14 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
12/2/14 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Ferguson’s Fall Out” (2:04)
11/29/14 by Mumia Abu-Jamal

As public consciousness about mass incarceration and police violence grows, the Fraternal Order of Police and the state of Pennsylvania attempt to silence prisoners.

Human rights advocates, prisoners, scholars, and journalists have sued the state of Pennsylvania to prevent enforcement of the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which passed the PA House and Senate in October.

Notwithstanding, PA Governor Tom Corbett signed SB508 into law on October 21st, and it became effective immediately. The bill allows the State Attorney General or District Attorney to file an injunction on behalf of victims in order to stop prisoners from speaking publicly. The pretense of the law is to prevent “mental anguish” experienced by victims.
Abolitionist Law Center and Amistad Law Project on behalf of its plaintiffs released this statement.
SB508 was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement address to Goddard College in an attempt to silence Mumia, other prisoners, and formerly incarcerated people.

“People who have been harmed by violence need relief–counseling, healing, restoration. Stifling speech doesn’t provide any of that,”

reported Amistad Law Project Legal Director Ashley Henderson. The Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center are representing Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, Robert L. Holbrook, and Human Rights Coalition in the historic lawsuit against SB508.


Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio documents:

“This is not the first time Pennsylvania has tried to silence Mumia. The department of Corrections has punished Mumia for speaking publicly and eliminated in-person broadcast media visits with all prisoners in response to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police.”

Abu-Jamal has given three commencement addresses in the past: another for Goddard College in 2008; one for Antioch College in Ohio in 2000; and one for Evergreen College in Washington state in 1999. He has recorded more than 3,000 essays, published seven books in nine languages, with two more books set for publication in 2015, and has been the subject of three major broadcast and theatrical movies.

Bret Grote, Legal Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, states:
“This law is clearly unconstitutional. The Pennsylvania legislature and Governor Corbett wanted to use Mumia Abu-Jamal to score political points and passed a law that can’t pass constitutional muster.”
 On November 7th, 2014 Mumia Abu-Jamal reflected on the importance of SB508: “This is indeed a serious time for me, and for us all. It is not easy to take on the state and prevail, however, it is right to do so.”

Prison Radio, the non-profit that has been recording Mumia’s commentaries for over 20 years, has launched a campaign to protect prisoners’ right to speak. In response to the coordinated right-wing effort to strip prisoners of their First Amendment, Prison Radio is calling on all supporters of Mumia and prisoners’ rights to join them:

“How can the state’s legislators pass and politicians sign the recent law described as the ‘Muzzle Mumia Act’?” asks Mumia Abu-Jamal. “They can’t. At least not constitutionally. In order to do so they had to knowingly and willingly violate both the U.S. and state constitutions and their very oaths of office.”

For information regarding Mumia criminal conviction, for which he has served approaching 34 years in prison see: Manufacturing Guilt; and for more about the narrative arc of his journalism career see
Contacts for written, audio or video stories:
Amistad Law Project Legal Director Ashley Henderson,
Amistad Law Project Policy Director Nikki Grant,
Abolitionist Law Center, Legal Director Bret Grote,
Noelle Hanrahan, Director of Prison Radio, 415-706-5222
For more information please email [email protected]415-706-5222
With respect and gratitude,
Noelle Hanrahan

Director, Prison Radio


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