Mobilization4Mumia.com, firstname.lastname@example.org PRESS RELEASE - March 12, 2021
March 12 protests: Mumia has COVID, Congestive heart disease -- Release him and other PA prisoners now! Freedom is the only treatment!
Supporters of Pennsylvania political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will gather outside the offices of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin on March 12 to demand the immediate release of 66-year-old Abu-Jamal, who has tested positive for COVID-19. In Philadelphia, the protest begins at 11am at 3 S. Penn Sq. In San Francisco, gather at Jackson Playground at 1pm for a march to the DA’s office. Join in person or virtually to the Philadelphia action at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Last week, protestors in San Francisco were successful in persuading SF DA Boudin to send a text to Philly DA Krasner saying "FYI Free Mumia activists are at my office demanding action on the case. They tell me he has tested positive for COVID-19. I know you will do justice in this case as in all cases".
Abu-Jamal was hospitalized to remove excessive fluid from his lungs on March 3. During this treatment, his legs and arms were inhumanely shackled to the hospital bed, creating additional and unnecessary suffering—impacting open and bloody wounds from his unrelenting skin ailment.
His supporters describe this treatment as “medical torture,” reminicent of the much-criticized shackling of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI. last year, shot by the police seven times at close range in the back and shackled on an obscure domestic violence charge to his hospital bed after surgery. The charges were soon lifted, and protests led to the shackles being removed but the police refused accountability saying that "this is standard procedure." Shackling brings to mind their use against other political prisoners including Huey Newton and Assata Shakur and the chains of oppression going back all the way to their horrific use against enslaved Africans. Mumia himself was shackled to his hospital bed after surgery on Dec 9th/10th, 1981.
Abu-Jamal had previously been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 2015 due to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections denial of hepatitis C drugs and is now suffering from congestive heart disease (CHD). Like many incarcerated people, his health crisis can be linked directly to years of medical neglect by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Dr Ricardo Alvarez, who serves as Mumia's medical consultant, says of people diagnosed with congestive heart disease, 50% don't live past 5 years. To live past five years, CHD patients require proper meds, physical therapy, and other life-altering changes. The PA DOC's anti-humane policies make it impossible on anyone to change their diet, to exercise more, to get fresh air, to reduce stress or to receive the right medicines. That is why Mumia and other incarcerated people who suffer from similar life-threatening ailments must be released.
Dr. Alvarez, an Independent physician with decades of work in prison advocacy, explained that the prison infirmary where Mumia is now being held is no place for those who are ill or elderly. “The only acceptable treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal is his freedom.” He added, “We have a simple cost-effective public health intervention in the face of COVID in prisons- release our elderly prisoners. Data shows they do not pose a public safety risk.”
Abu-Jamal's new medical diagnosis comes after 39 years of wrongful imprisonment due to police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct—28 years unconstitutionally held in the infernal isolation of death row. He is innocent and is in the middle of legal challenges that could finally prove his innocence and win his freedom but Krasner and the F.O.P have purposely contested and delayed the process. Justice delayed is justice denied!
Abu-Jamal is one of thousands of Pennsylvania elderly prisoners with ailing health due to inhumane prison conditions. These include the lack of proper food, contaminated water, medical neglect, and the stress for nearly a year of 23-hour-per-day confinement and isolation because of COVID-19. Under the policies of the Pennsylvania DOC, incarcerated people have borne the brunt of this pandemic, while prison guards and staff – the carriers of the virus – travel freely from communities outside the prison, and within prison blocks.
DA Krasner, Gov. Tom Wolf and PA DOC Secretary John Wolf are responsible for healthcare for Mumia and all those incarcerated. Their refusal to release Mumia and to deny him and other ill and elderly incarcerated people proper healthcare amounts to nothing less than death by incarceration.
Free Mumia and all incarcerated people over 50 in Pennsylvania and every state prison immediately! Freedom is the ONLY treatment!