Mumia Abu-Jamal Hospitalized, Court Hears Mental Anguish Law

Mumia Abu-Jamal is serving life for the murder of a police officer. | Photo: Reuters

Note: We understand that Mumia was in diabetic shock due to the mistreatment of him in prison. We will update this as more information becomes available. Please take action to support him make these calls now to demand that Mumia’s case be reviewed by doctors representing the family:

  • Pennsylvania Bureau of Health Care Director Chris Oppman, 717-728-5311
  • Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, 717-728-4109 or ra-crpadocsecretary@pa.gov
  • Schuylkill Medical Center Superintendent Mark Lory, 420 S. Jackson St., Pottsville, PA 17901, 570-621-5000 (or his secretary, Diane Doyn, ext. 5102)
  • Mahanoy State Correctional Institute Superintendent John Kerestes, 570-773-2158 (or his secretary, Mary Kay)

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the prisoner and activist, is held in a hospital incomunicado

The law was enacted in response to a broadcast Abu-Jamal made last year. The family of Daniel Faulkner, who was killed in 1983, claim that it distressed them. A federal judge heard an appeal Monday to a law allowing victims of crimes to file injunctions against perpetrators who afflict “mental anguish.”

Meanwhile Mumia Abu-Jamal, the prisoner and activist who inspired the legislation, is held in hospital incomunicado. Little is known about the condition of the black revolutionary, who is serving life for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer, other than that he is being held in intensive care, and his family is unable to contact him. Local media reports that he is on an insulin drip.

The mental anguish law was enacted in response to a recorded commencement address Abu-Jamal made to Vermont college. The family of officer Daniel Faulkner, who was killed in 1983, claim that the address caused them distress. Supporters of Abu-Jamal, who was a regular on Prison Radio until his last broadcast March 24, say that the law prohibits free speech, and aims to silence the voice of prison activists.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner, who is hearing the appeal, said Monday that he will consider both sides and make a definitive decision. RELATED: Prison Journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal to Give Commencement Address “Aren’t you essentially allowing the victim, the victim’s family to stop any kind of media communication from the defense team?” Conner asked.

Abu-Jamal’s legal team argue that the law has already had a frightening affect on broadcast and publication. “We have this wide range of uncertainty in which the offender is left to guess what would be and what would not be covered” by the law, Eli Segal, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, said. Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death for the death of Faulkner, and his activism for the Black Panther Party has lead many to regard him as a political prisoner.