Attorney details Mumia Abu-Jamal
Robert R. Bryan, the lead attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, described his client as the ?voice of the voiceless? in his speech on Tuesday in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall. Bryan spoke to CMU students and members of the Pittsburgh community on the details of Abu-Jamal?s case. The lecture was hosted by the Western Pennsylvania Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and it featured commentary by Philadelphia journalist Linn Washington, Sam Jordan from Amnesty International, and Pam Africa from the MOVE organization.
Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, became president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists in the late 1970s. On December 9, 1981, Abu-Jamal was involved in a fatal gunfight involving his brother and police officer Daniel Faulkner, and was convicted of first-degree murder. He has been on death row since July 3, 1982.
?We as lawyers cannot win without the movement. It is about people power; people have to be aware of the case,? said Bryan as he spoke about Abu-Jamal?s supposed mistrial. He claimed that people of color were purposely removed from the jury pool and that Mumia was not given the right to represent himself and instead was removed from the courtroom. He claimed that the prosecution withheld important evidence and that fraudulent evidence was brought into the case. Bryan then stated, ?I will not rest until the doors are open in Waynesburg and Mumia walks out a free person.?
Linn Washington, a Philadelphia journalist who has been following Abu-Jamal?s case for 22 years, spoke about the role of the media. ?Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty as hell and should have been executed 10 years ago, is the attitude of journalists in Philadelphia,? claimed Washington. He accused the mainstream media of not adequately covering the case. Washington called the judicial system ?a system of seamless injustice? where, he said, ?police, prosecutors and judges in Philly and elsewhere go for results, not justice.?
?Only an international political movement can free Mumia Abu-Jamal,? said Sam Jordan, the former director of Amnesty International?s program to abolish the death penalty.
?Mumia is clearly the evidence and not the crime,? Pam Africa stated.
Sister Barbara Finch, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty, said, ?We should expand our awareness of what is pro-life ? abortion, war, and the death penalty are connected and we should think of them holistically.?
In a recording he prepared for the lecture, Abu-Jamal thanked the audience and organizers of the event.
?The struggle for life, liberty and freedom must continue,? he said.