Mumia – political prisoner? 30 years behind bars

On the thirtieth anniversary of former journalist and Black Panther movement Mumia Abu-Jamal’s incarceration, RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports on one of the most controversial legal battles in modern US history.

All rise – the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal vs. America’s justice system.

"I am fighting my conviction, fighting the sentence, fighting for my life, and fighting to create revolution in America," said Mumia in an interview.

One of the most debated battles in modern legal history.

Accused of killing a police officer in the 80s, 57-year-old Mumia has spent 30 years of his life behind bars in the U. – on death row.

"This was a police frame-up against a revolutionary journalist and activist, very well known organizer in Philadelphia, outspoken against police abuse," said co-director of the International Action Center Sarah Flounders.

Mumia an honorary award-holding citizen in over 20 cities, with a street named after him in France, dubbed “the Voice of the Voiceless” by human rights activists. His work translated into several languages and distributed across the world.

"His analysis is a revolutionary analysis. That this system is rotten to its core, that it's racist, classist, sexist, evil and that it is the head, the leader of an imperialist domination of the world,” said Suzanne Ross of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition.

While the US claims to not hold political prisoners, Mumia has become one of the most well known in the world.

“He is more well known outside of the United States, than inside – because of the propaganda against him,” said oordinator of the Millions for Mumia Project of International Action Center Monica Moorehead.

His supporters say it was Mumia’s views, and involvement in the Black Panther movement, not murder, that landed him in jail.

“This is someone who has been political since the time he was 16 years old. From the time he was 16 years old, he was targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO,” said Monica Moorehead.

Mumia maintains his innocence. Many argue his case was fraught with racism from the get-go.

“The issue of judge sable who said 'I am going to help them fry the nigger,' so he had a judge who was very biased,” said activist Larry Hales.

The defense has cited a lack of a fair trial. They say, a new trial is needed to set the facts straight.

"They claim that Mumia shot officer Faulkner and missed him at least three times, into the cement, but there are no holes in the pavement. The crime scene photos show that those types of marks simply are not there," said co-founder of Journalists for Mumia, Hans Bennett.

“Fifteen of the police officers involved in collecting evidence in Mumia’s trial were later charged with corruption and tampering with evidence to obtain a conviction. Fifteen of the thirty-three,” said producer of the film “Justice on Trial” Johanna Fernandez.

Mumia’s fight against the US justice system has been shedding bright light onto its discrepancies.

“The US criminal justice system has become at long last an embarrassment to the United States,” said Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report Glen Ford.

“His case embodies so much of what’s wrong with the court system. That’s why people have gravitated to this case and made it a symbol for their outrage,” said investigative journalist and professor Linn Washington.

While calls for a new investigation have been loud and clear, they have gone unnoticed by the U.S. President and justice department.

“There is tons of evidence to show his innocence. He should be free, but he’s spent 30 years in a dungeon”, said activist Larry Hales.

Just two days before the thirtieth anniversary of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s incarceration, his death penalty has been commuted to life in prison without parole. His supporters say they will keep fighting to set him free.