[please re-post and distribute widely. Excuse duplicate postings.]
November 10, 1999
To All Supporters of Democratic Rights:
Dear Sisters and Brothers Across the Globe:
I am writing to inform you that the International Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal has selected the date of January 12, 2000, for an international delegation to Washington to demand justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
[For background information on the International Committee to Save Mumia, see Attachment #1 below.]
Our goal is to bring together in the nation's capital leaders, luminaries and well-known personalities who support the demand for a new trial.
The "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" [see copy of the text below] and the proposal for a delegation have received enthusiastic support the world over. Our aim is to assemble in this delegation members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus, as well as other legislators, trade union leaders from this country and abroad, leaders of the civil rights movement, clergy, political leaders from other countries (such as members of the British Parliament), Nobel Prize Laureates, and, of course, spokespersons for the Mumia movement.
The proposed plan for this event is to hold a well-prepared news conference in Washington, D.C., on January 12 with a broad array of national and international speakers. At the conclusion of the news conference, those assembled would march as a group to the White House and to the Justice Department to deliver the Open Letter, together with lists of all signers, and to make a statement.
An all-out campaign will be waged to get agreement from the White House and the Justice Department to receive our delegation. We are proceeding with the expectation that if the delegation is sufficiently broad, it will be received by top-ranking officials.
I call upon all supporters of democratic rights in the United States and across the globe to help us gather hundreds of thousands of signatures in support of the "Open Letter to Bill Clinton." Let us serve notice to Bill Clinton that the eyes of the world are on his administration and that Clinton must use the powers of his office to ensure the conditions for a new and fair trial for Mumia.
I also call upon you to select from the trade unions and/or your community organizations in your different countries the delegates who could join us in Washington on January 12.
-- International endorsements and proposals for the delegation to Washington should be sent to:
International Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, c/o International
Committee for a Workers' International, 87, rue du Faubourg St. Denis,
75010, Paris, France. Email: <email@example.com>
-- U.S. endorsements and proposals for the delegation to Washington
be sent to:
Open World Conference, c/o San Francisco Labor Council, 1188
Suite 203, San Francisco, CA 94109. Fax: (415) 440-9297. Note: Email
correspondence should be sent to Jerry Gordon, Secretary,
International Delegation to Washington at JANDB99@aol.com and/or to
We must act quickly to win justice for Mumia!
Thank you for your support.
Hasta la Victoria,
Baldemar Velasquez, President,
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO)
and Convener, International Delegation to Washington
Text of the "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" issued by International Committee to Save Mumia:
"Mr. President, We call upon you because you have the power to prevent an irreparable injustice: the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has just rejected without
any commentary the appeal submitted by Mumia Abu-Jamal's lawyers.
Whatever our country, our nationality, our political, philosophical or religious opinions, or the color of our skin, we the undersigned are staunch defenders of human rights and justice. Mr. President: You know that any objective examination of the conditions of Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial shows that his elementary right to a fair trial was denied to him. In such conditions, his execution would be but an act of legalized murder.
"You have the power and duty to prevent this. In the name of justice, to which all citizens have a right, we call upon you with a sense of urgency and ask you to use the powers of your office to prevent the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and to ensure him the conditions for a new and fair trial."
Origin of the International Committee to Save Mumia
The origin of this initiative is as follows: A rally of close
to 10,000 unionists and activists was held in Paris on
October 15, 1999, to build
support for the Open World Conference in Defense of Trade Union Independence and Democratic Rights (OWC), which will be held in San Francisco on February 11-14 of the year 2000.
[For more information on the OWC, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>; for more information on the International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International (ILC), which co-sponsored the Paris rally, contact <email@example.com>.]
The Paris rally, held at the Palais des Sports [Sports Palace], was chaired by Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC/AFL-CIO) and co-chair of the Labor Party in the United States.
Speakers from trade unions and political parties from all continents addressed the crowd. One of the focal points of the Paris rally was the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Tetevi Norbert Gbikpi-Benissan, president of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Togo (UNSIT) and convener of the International Tribunal on Africa, reported on the recent six-city tour of the United States which he and Lybon Tiyani Mabasa, president of the Socialist Party of Azania (South Africa), had conducted with the goal of building support for the African Tribunal.
Gbikpi-Benissan spoke of his multiple discussions with activists and leaders of the African American freedom struggle regarding the need to deepen and widen the fight to free Mumia. He also reported on the decision of Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Ridge to sign a death warrant for Mumia on December 2.
Given the urgent situation, it was now necessary to step up the
fight to free Mumia, Gbikpi-Benissan insisted.
Speaking on behalf of himself and Lybon Mabasa, Gbikpi-Benissan
proposed to the rally and its keynote speakers that they
promote an "Open Letter to Bill Clinton"
demanding that he intervene and direct the Justice Department to conduct
an immediate investigation into the violation of Mumia's civil
rights at the hands of the Philadelphia police. Such a campaign, he said, would strengthen the fight to stop the execution and win a fair trial.
The Paris rally, with its participants from 30 countries, enthusiastically approved a massive signature-gathering campaign in support of this Open Letter.
The campaign would include mass protest actions at U.S. embassies and consulates the world over, as well as high-level, broad-based delegations to the U.S. embassies. All the speakers on the platform, coming from different trade union and political traditions, agreed to constitute themselves as an International Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal with the goal of promoting massive support for the "Open Letter to Bill Clinton" and organizing an international delegation to Washington to deliver these petitions.
[For a list of the initial members of the International Committee to Save Mumia, and for the list of new sponsors in close to 70 countries to this date, contact firstname.lastname@example.org]
A LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE DEMAND THAT CLINTON AND THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INTERVENE TO ORDER A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION OF THE FLAGRANT DENIAL OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL'S DUE PROCESS AND CIVIL RIGHTS
By Jim Lafferty (exec, director, Los Angeles chapter, National Lawyers Guild)
Under the U.S. Constitution, Clinton cannot commute Mumia's sentence, but he could direct Janet Reno and the Justice Department to conduct an investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department to determine if Mumia's civil rights were violated.
It is important to point out that the Justice Department over
the years has conducted a number of investigations of the
Philadelphia Police Department. It has been disclosed that
the Prosecutor's Office was systematically training its
subordinates in how to make sure that not too
many Blacks would serve on a jury. As a result, it is estimated that as many as 300 to 400 cases might have to be retried.
There is a long list of violations of Mumia's rights by the Philadelphia
courts and the police. One of the issues in Mumia's trial is precisely
the exclusion of Black jurors. Another involves the denial
of Mumia's right to represent himself. Yet another involves
so much of the trial being conducted with Mumia excluded
from the courtroom and denied the right to hear the testimony
against him. Mumia's lawyers, moreover, have proven that police threatened
witnesses if they testified on Mumia's behalf, and witnesses æ who
have recanted their testimony æ have testified to that effect.
Other witnesses sentenced for other crimes were given leniency
if they fingered Mumia. The bullets were lost, the gun
that allegedly killed Officer Faulkner could not have been
fired by Mumia, and the police failed to conduct tests on
Mumia's hands which could have shown he did not fire a gun and thus was innocent of the crime with which he was charged.
There is no doubt that there is evidence of a pattern of conspiracy on the part of the Philadelphia police and the prosecutor to deprive Mumia of his civil rights. And the reason for this is obvious: Mumia has been a staunch advocate of civil rights for others. He has been outspoken in exposing police abuse in Philadelphia for years prior to his arrest.
Among the laws that appear to have been violated in Mumia's case are 14 U.S. Section 1985 and 18 U.S. Section 241 and 242.
It is worth noting that the Justice Department could claim that it can do nothing because the statute of limitations has run out with regard to alleged police violations of Mumia's civil rights that occurred 17 years ago. This claim cannot be sustained. There is a legal statute - 18 U.S. C183682 - that stipulates that if there is an ongoing pattern of civil rights violations, the statute of limitations does not run out until the last act has ended. In the case of Mumia, there has been on ongoing conspiracy. His rights in jail have been violated, new threats against potential witnesses have been documented, and the list goes on. Within the last five years there have been numerous violations of Mumia's civil rights.
The Federal Judge assigned to review Mumia's case has a number of choices before him. He could review the record and determine there have been no errors, thereby upholding Mumia's conviction. Or he could find there were serious errors and order a summary judgment in Mumia's favor. Or he could order an evidentiary hearing.
Mumia's lawyers are pushing for a full evidentiary hearing as
the basis for a new trial. If the Justice Department were
to conduct an investigation into Mumia's case and find
that some of the allegations of Mumia's lawyers are in fact
true, this would greatly assist the call for a full evidentiary hearing
- and therefore a new trial. It would be a boon to the case. Clinton
has the power to direct the Justice Department to conduct
a civil rights investigation. We must demand that he do
so. This is a case that cries out for the most thorough
investigation. Here you have a president who has stated publicly
many times that he wants to improve race relations in the United States.
You have a president who claims to champion civil rights. You would think
that he would want to establish the entire truth in a highly charged
and volatile case such as this. And he certainly has the power
to uncover the entire truth.
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