PHILADELPHIA — Dozens marched in Germantown here April 27 demanding freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal. A former Black Panther and journalist, Abu-Jamal has been incarcerated for 37 years, much of it on death row. He has been fighting for a new trial, seeking to overturn his frame-up murder conviction in the 1981 shooting of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner. Speaking is human rights fighter Ralph Pointer, who recently visited Abu-Jamal.
Between 1995 and 2012 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied four appeals by Abu-Jamal against his conviction. The court was presided over by former Philadelphia District Attorney Ron Castille. In 2002 federal Judge William Yohn overturned the death sentence hanging over Abu-Jamal.
In December 2018 Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled Abu-Jamal could renew his appeal because Castille refused to recuse himself from ruling on Abu-Jamal’s four appeals. Tucker ruled this was a conflict of interest.
Current Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner initially announced he would appeal Tucker’s ruling, claiming it would set a precedent affecting an unlimited number of convictions. Krasner said April 17 he had changed his mind after Tucker explained his ruling was limited to Abu-Jamal’s particular case.
The April 27 action celebrated Krasner’s decision and the new opening for Abu-Jamal to fight to win his freedom.