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Film Provides Rare Glimpse of the Real Mumia Abu-Jamal

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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.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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