MONTREAL, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders has just
released "Journalism in Hell," an article by Mumia Abu-Jamal written from his
prison cell on death row, where he has been incarcerated since 1982. At the
time of his arrest, he was known as the Voice of the voiceless for speaking
out as a reporter against governmental abuses and corruption. In this
eyewitness account written on May 23, 2009, at this organization's request,
the journalist describes what has been happening to him and how he has managed
to pursue his profession since his arrest. He notably relates how he had to
plead his case on the grounds that his activity was protected by the U.S.
Constitution's First Amendment in order to obtain the right which he had
previously been denied. His account is published here in its entirety.
"Although Mumia Abu-Jamal was not arrested and sentenced to death in his
professional capacity, it is certainly likely that his status as an activist
and committed journalist was a driving force. Mumia Abu-Jamal's fate hinges on
human rights, of which the death penalty already constitutes a violation. We
will be giving Mumia Abu-Jamal an opportunity to relate his experience in his
own words" stated Reporters Without Borders.
As a former Black Panther militant who worked as a radio reporter in the
1970s, Mumia Abu-Jamal, now 55, was sentenced to death for killing a police
officer, Daniel Faulkner, on December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia. A number of
procedural irregularities were noted during his trial - so many, in fact, that
they have raised serious doubts as to his guilt.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence was reversed with an order for a new
jury trial on the question of life and death on March 27, 2008 by a
Pennsylvania federal court of appeals. However the State of Pennsylvania
appealed immediately to the Supreme Court in Washington DC on that issue, so
the reversal never took effect. Reporters Without Borders had denounced, at
the time, the "dogged determination of authorities" to persecute Mumia
In October 2008 and in April 2009, the Supreme Court rejected two appeals
filed by the journalist's defense lawyer, Robert R. Bryan, requesting that a
new trial be granted. The first one dealt with the sworn statements from
witnesses, pressured by the police and the prosecutor, in order to obtain a
conviction and a death judgment against Mumia Abu-Jamal during the 1982 trial.
The second concerned racism in jury selection. The prosecution removed black
people from sitting on the jury because of their color.
If you have questions, or would like to make a tax-deductible donation to
the Mumia Abu-Jamal legal defense fund, please contact :
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, CA 94123-4117
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)