February 1999 Issue 1

Articles in this Issue:

Justice for Mumia!

Mumia's attorney Leonard Weinglass speaks out

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and political activist who has been on Pennsylvania's death row since 1982. He was originally targeted by the Philadelphia police department for his outspokenness on police brutality and racism and was subsequently framed for the killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

The trial he endured was a complete sham. But Mumia has nonetheless remained a tireless voice of resistance against the death penalty and injustice.

Remembering Tyrone X Gilliam

By: Virginia Harabin

On the night of November 16, 1998, more than 200 abolitionists picketed and chanted in protest outside Baltimore's Supermax as the state of Maryland took the life of Tyrone X Gilliam.

In the weeks leading up to his execution date, Tyrone worked tirelessly to fight the death penalty, even as he was preparing himself to face the state's killing machine.

Jo Anne Patterson talks about having a son on death row

"It's like becoming a prisoner yourself"

Aaron Patterson is on death row in Illinois for a crime he didn't commit.

He was sentenced to death in 1989 - based on an unsigned "confession" that police wrote for him and one witness who later recanted her testimony.

Aaron was the victim of police torture at the hands of Lt. Jon Burge, who was later fired from the Chicago Police Department for torturing more than 40 Black men into false confessions.

Death Row victims of Burge's torture have joined together to form the Death Row Ten.

Why the Democrats are not our allies

By: Cameron Sturdevant

Gray Davis, the new Democratic governor of California, wants to continue the tradition of his Republican predecessor by executing Jay Siripongs on February 9 - the first man of color executed in California in 30 years.

Thus the election of Davis has not changed the perilous situation of the more than 510 people on death row in California.

This is not a surprising situation. During his campaign, Davis reiterated that he "is now and has always been in favor of the death penalty. There simply is no better way to deter and punish society's most heinous criminals."

Stop the execution of Jay Siripongs!

Jay Siripongs is scheduled to be executed by the state of California on February 9.

California's new Democratic Governor, Gray Davis, has refused to grant clemency for Siripongs despite gross errors in the original trial.

Jay's attorney had no experience with capital cases - and was too busy running for Congress to devote time to the trial. He left evidence untested and didn't call potential defense witnesses.

Keep the death penalty out of Massachusetts!

Activists protest Cellucci's vow to bring back executions

By: Susan Fitzgerald

Anti-death penalty activists were on hand to protest on January 7 when Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci, who plans to reintroduce the death penalty, was inaugurated.

About 150 people braved frigid temperatures and a sub-zero wind chill to protest at Cellucci's swearing in, as well as at the posh inaugural ball held later that evening.

Prosecutors give up case against Shareef Cousin

By: Marlene Martin

Shareef Cousin, who was sentenced to death in 1995 at the age of 16, is now off death row. Just three days before his new trial was to begin in January, the New Orleans D.A's office dropped the murder charges against Shareef.

Building trade union support for Mumia

By: Sherry Wolf

"I would rather be executed than cross a picket line," said death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. He was defying ABC reporters from the "20/20" TV news magazine show who wanted to interview him during the recent lockout of 2,500 ABC technicians, members of the National Association of Broadcasters and Technicians/Communications Workers of America (NABET/CWA).

Even from the isolation of death row, Mumia is standing in solidarity with workers being denied job security and decent wage increases.

Some unions have begun to return the solidarity by mobilizing to win a new trial for Mumia.

Upcoming Conferences for Mumia

Activists in major cities around the country are organizing daylong conferences to publicize the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. These meetings will be an important way to educate ourselves about the issues surrounding the case - and to build more support for the Millions for Mumia demonstrations in Philadelphia and San Francisco on April 24.

New York City
Saturday, February 13
Starting at 10 a.m.
City College of New York
138th Street and Convent Avenue

  • Featured speakers include Pam Africa, Manning Marable, Tonya McClary and Safiya Bukari.

The executioner unmasked

Why was Tyrone X Gilliam murdered?

By: James E. Perry

I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of murder and other crimes, but does one death justify another?

How can they kill a mentally ill man?

By: Andre V. Jones

To the New Abolitionist!

I greet you, brothers and sisters, in the name of peace. As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Barakatu Allah Akbar.

I want to thank you all very, very much for publishing my article in your newsletter. Please put me on your mailing list so I can receive a copy. I want to touch base on a couple of issues I feel are of paramount importance.

Brother Anthony Porter is in the Cook County Jail, pending a hearing to determine if he is insane or sane. It is a well-known fact that this man is mentally ill.

The misuse and abuse of political power

Free Lawrence Hayes now!

By: Lawrence Hayes

Lawrence Hayes is a former death-row prisoner who was recently sent back to back to prison for a parole violation.

His death sentence was commuted in 1974 after the death penalty was abolished. In 1991, he was released from prison on parole. But last year, Lawrence was given a five-year sentence for missing a single meeting with his parole officer.