Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is facing a life and death situation. He was hospitalized on March 3rd and has said he was feeling like an elephant was sitting on his lungs. He is reported to have lost 30 pounds in 10 days. This is all on top of other ailments he has been living with, such as congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and a chronic debilitating skin condition. He has suffered from serious neglect of medical care. His Hepatitis C was essentially ignored for nearly two years until attorneys forced the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to meet basic national treatment guidelines.
Mumia is not the only one whose life has been put at risk. In normal times, prisoners are denied basic medical care as well as sanitation, quality food and even clean water. Since the pandemic, prisons have been super spreader sites of the coronavirus. More than 2.3 million people are locked up in the United States, and approximately 1 out of 6 are 50 years old or older, making them particularly vulnerable to the virus. When prisoners like Mumia are ill, they might literally be “locked down,” with each of their four limbs chained to each of the bed frames, making them often reluctant to report their ailments.
Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal? As a young person, he was active in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, becoming an organizer for the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. He was also a dedicated journalist who spoke out against injustice and worked for outlets such as NPR.
In 1981, it is alleged that he murdered a cop in a routine traffic stop. Despite many inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case against Mumia, he was sentenced to death row. At the beginning of the 1982 trial, the trial judge was overheard to say he was going to “help them fry the ‘n—r’.” Many organizations such as Amnesty International as well as individuals have decried this mockery of “justice.” A federal court overturned the death penalty sentence in 2011, but Mumia is still serving a life term in prison.
Mumia has refused to be silenced by continuing his journalism through “prison radio.” He has also been active in the “jailhouse lawyers” movement, in which inmates have assisted each other to fight for their freedom.
For Mumia and everyone else, No Execution by Medical Neglect!
As Mumia’s physician, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, declared, “The Only Treatment Is Freedom!”
Join thousands of others in calling for Mumia’s freedom. This is an emergency:
Learn more about Mumia and the miscarriage of justice that led to his imprisonment: