Open Letter from Advocacy Groups to DA Krasner on Mumia Abu-Jamal

Supporters of freedom for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal delivered an open letter to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office today. The letter — which demands that DA Krasner drop his appeal contesting a ruling that reinstated Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal rights — was signed by 14 community advocacy groups, many of which supported and worked on Krasner’s election campaign. From left to right, Cindy Miller, Wayne Cook (Mumia Abu-Jamal’s nephew), Linda Ragin, and Pam Africa delivered the letter. Photo by Joe Piette. The letter follows:

ATTN: Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney

Larry Krasner, Esq.

February 6, 2019

Dear Larry,

We, the signatories of this letter, want to communicate to you our strong disapproval, anger and sense of betrayal regarding your decision to contest the ruling of Judge Tucker which reinstated Mumia Abu-Jamal’s rights of appeal. We demand that the district attorney’s office immediately drop its appeal of the ruling.

We celebrate the gains your office has made for the people of Philadelphia:

  • Investigating wrongful convictions and challenging corruption
  • Training prosecutors to help prevent deportation
  • Working with sex worker activists to stop aggressive prosecutions
  • Reforming bail, charging decisions, and sentencing recommendations
  • Helping to bring home juvenile lifers who are beloved community leaders

However, by attempting to deny Mumia’s right to re-argue his appeals, you are stating your approval of the rampant racism in this case and the subsequent guilty verdict.

You told us that investigating and righting past legal wrongs was your priority. You strongly disavowed racism. Many of us canvassed and knocked on doors for you, held fundraisers, and built grassroots support for your campaign. Now, many of us feel betrayed.

Abu-Jamal’s trial was presided over by Albert Sabo, a notorious white supremacist judge. A court stenographer signed an affidavit saying she had heard Sabo say, “I’m gonna help them fry the n*****”. Sabo sent 31 people to death row. Only two members of Mumia’s jury were Black. Over one-third of the 35 officers involved in Mumia’s case, including the top officer at the crime scene, were subsequently convicted of corruption, extortion and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions in other cases. There may be more evidence of misconduct in Mumia’s case in the boxes your office recently found, which were either lost or concealed by prior administrations.

By pursuing this appeal — even though you were not the originator of this past injustice — you are legitimizing it, saying it is acceptable. We think it is not. You can be the one to end this pattern of racism in Mumia’s case.

We applaud the positive changes you have made — but we also said when we elected you that we would hold you accountable. Please consider this letter a step in that process.

Retract the appeal! Release Mumia now! Black Lives Matter!

Signed,

Decarcerate PA
Human Rights Coalition
Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI)
Books Through Bars
Black and Brown Workers Cooperative
Jewish Voice for Peace
Prison Health News
Nation Time Judicial Research, Inc.
International Action Center – Philadelphia
Food Not Bombs – Solidarity
Islamic Communication Network
Mobilization4Mumia
Fight Toxic Prisons
Philly for REAL Justice
Mr Leon Williams
Mr Hakim Ali
Ms Mindy Isser
Ms Lillian Wehbe
Dr George Ciccariello-Maher, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
Ms Mary Stricker, Krasner campaigner, fundraiser
Dr Sandra Joy, Professor of Sociology, Rowan University, Ph.D, LCSW

You can sign on to the letter as an individual here.

. . .

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