Volume 3 #5 (March 8 - 21, 2000)
Pensacola Joins Protests For Death Row Inmate
BY KEN GAILLOT
Over a dozen Pensacola protesters joined thousands of people across the country February 28 to demand a new trial for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. Over three hundred people were arrested at nonviolent protests in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Earlier in February, human rights group Amnesty International called for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal on the basis that the original one failed to meet minimum international standards for fair trials.
"Given the contradictory and incomplete evidence in the trial transcript, Amnesty International cannot take a position on Abu-Jamal's guilt or innocence," Amnesty International said. "In calling for a new trial we are not ignoring the pain of the relatives and colleagues of Officer Daniel Faulkner, for whom we have the greatest sympathy."
One of the main, but not only, concerns is that Abu-Jamal was convicted on the basis of a confession that was supposedly written the day of the shooting. However, the jury was not allowed to hear that Abu-Jamal denied writing the confession, the police officer with him that day reported that "the negro male made no comments," and the supposed confession did not surface until two months after the shooting.
In the same February announcement, Amnesty International expressed concern that Abu Jamal appears to have been on the target list of a government intelligence agency for his political activities with the Black Panther party and as a radio journalist.
The Pensacola, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. protests were intended to demonstrate that U.S. citizens still value their rights to a free and fair trial, according to evidence, and not the accused's political views.