Abu-Jamal and I worked together as news reporters in Philadelphia before his December 1981 arrest, he a radio reporter while I worked for newspapers. I have followed his case closely since 1981 including traveling abroad to research and report on the "Mumia Movement.'
In October 2012, for example, I traveled to Bobigny, France where officials of that Paris suburb name a street honoring Abu-Jamal. That was the second street naming for Abu-Jamal in a suburb of Paris -- a city that extended Abu-Jamal the rare "Honorary Citizen' title.
Given the total rejection American courts have given to Abu-Jamal's appeals, it's ironic that the Bobigny street bearing his name runs alongside a court building.
Lanquirary Painemal, an activist in Chile, was among the 100-plus attending the Bobigny ceremony, where a banner hung demanding the release of Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, another American political prisoner.
Painemal said many in her country consider Abu-Jamal a freedom fighter because of his advocacy for the oppressed everywhere.
During that Bobigny ceremony, attended by one of Abu-Jamal's sons, Mumia delivered a pre-recorded message of support in fluent French. He learned French during his years in a Death Row isolation cell.
Abu-Jamal once told me he transformed his Death Row isolation into a creative muse.
Vittoria said an amazing aspect for him personally and his film's presentation is Abu-Jamal not being "bitter or broken or defeated" by his draconian incarceration.
The in-theater release of "Long Distance Revolutionary" comes at a time of new revelations undermining Abu-Jamal's conviction, reinvigoration of the Free Mumia Movement, continued confirmation of the police corruption staining the core of Abu-Jamal's conviction and vile venom aimed at persons questioning the validity of that conviction.
In late December 2012 enemies of Abu-Jamal unleashed a barrage of terroristic threats against Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and Professor Johanna Fernandez, a key Abu-Jamal activist, after that pair posted a picture on Facebook they took with Abu-Jamal during a prison visit with him.
One poster named Ingram said he hoped ""YOU TWO BITCHES GET GANG RAPED AND MURDERED BY A BUNCH OF NIGGERS!!!" and another poster expressed his hope that "those broads suffer a flesh eating bacteria starting in their cunts!"
Fernandez characterized those Facebook responses, some from active duty Philadelphia police and firefighters, as "violent and, dare I say, fascistic"" Fernandez made the 2010 film on the Abu-Jamal case entitled "Justice On Trial."
In early fall 2012 a new book detailed first-ever accounts of the crass intimidation police, prosecutors and jurists directed at a witness in the Abu-Jamal case who initially told police about seeing two men flee the scene of Faulkner's fatal shooting.
Police arrested Abu-Jamal at the crime scene critically wounded by a bullet from Faulkner's gun. Authorities contend no one fled the crime scene despite accounts from other eyewitness to the contrary.
The intimidation of Veronica Jones included a bizarre courtroom incident where Philadelphia prosecutors, with the consent of a judge, orchestrated her arrest on the witness stand after she testified that police forced her to lie during Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial.
This book "Veronica & the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal as told to her sister, Valerie Jones" also presents the first-ever revelation of the professional and personal relationship between Veronica Jones (working as a prostitute in 1981) and the married Officer Faulkner that included a sexual relationship.