Protest supports convicted journalist
 Crowd feels Abu-Jamal deserves second trial

 
 

 By Matt Stacionis 
 Assistant Sports Editor 
 11-19-1999
 “We must stop Mumia’s execution!” 

 A group of NIU students and DeKalb residents gathered Thursday at King Memorial Commons in protest of what  they believe is the wrongful imprisonment of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who currently awaits execution at a Philadelphia prison after his conviction for the murder of a police officer.


Ken kveton photo 

Protestors march in front of the Holmes Student Center Thursday afternoon to call
for the re-trial of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who awaits execution on death row.

 Members of the group, like many others nationwide, think that Abu-Jamal was not given a fair trial
 because of his radical beliefs and race. 

 “I’m a strong opponent against criminal injustices,” Marxist-Humanist Forum member Ronald Hale said.
 “For some time now, there has been some sort of vengeance against the poor in America. We haven’t
 been able to get them fair justice. That’s why I’m out here fighting. For not only Mumia, but basically
 the voice of the voiceless.” 

 Radio journalist Abu-Jamal’s voice was what led him to trouble with prominent members of
 Philadelphia, including Mayor Frank Rizzo. And that’s why protesters feel he was denied his right to a
 fair trial. 

 “We’re out here not necessarily to prove his innocence, but [to] say, ‘Give him a fair trial,’” Hale said. 

  Abu-Jamal was barred for the majority of his own trial. He also was appointed a lawyer, who was
 unprepared and later disbarred, protesters said. There also was an alleged confession from a suspect
 that was not written in the police report. The emergency-room doctor also denied any confession was
 made, protesters explained. 

 The former member of the Black Panther organization, and later a strong supporter of the group
 MOVE, currently awaits a pardon from Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Ridge, which would grant him a
 second trial. It is believed that if he is given a new trial, the evidence originally not allowed would shed
 new light and possibly set him free. 

 “I believe every man is equal, and they deserve fair treatment in America,” Hale said. “If you take a look into Philadelphia politics at that time, it was very racist – racist mayor, racist police.”

 FBI officials had surveillance on Abu-Jamal since he was 15 and also have accumulated
 hundreds of pages of files on the journalist. 

 Cele Meyer, coordinator of the DeKalb InterFaith Network for Peace and Justice, thinks that Abu-Jamal is one of many “political prisoners” that America currently is holding hostage. She also said Abu-Jamal was imprisoned for his association with MOVE, a group that allegedly had the Abu-Jamal house bombed with the authorization from Rizzo himself. 

“I read the flier, and that convinced me that something needed to be done,” said Lorraine Scurti of the Northern Coalition for Peace. “I feel it needs to be brought to our attention, and I think it’s the university and community’s responsibility to distribute this kind of information.”