April 1, 2015 FeaturedPost, Media, Movement, News

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The life of brilliant journalist, intellectual, revolutionary, and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is in great danger. Pennsylvania set two execution dates for Mumia in the ’90’s despite his innocence. Only the international movement stayed the hands of the executioner.

Now removed from Death Row, Mumia is once again subject to attempted execution, this time through medical neglect and malpractice. With no history of diabetes, and subsequent to having three blood tests only weeks earlier, on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock.

He was hospitalized on Monday, March 30, with life-threatening high blood sugar, but two days later was transferred back to the same prison that failed to diagnose or treat him even though he was still very ill. His diet is dangerous and his health is deteriorating. Once again, only massive pressure will prevent his death.

Call the following numbers and demand that Mumia be granted: treatment by specialists of his choosing who are outside the Dept of Corrections, an appropriate diet, and daily visits by family, friends, and attorneys.

John Wetzel – Secretary, PA Department of Corrections –  (717) 728-4109
Thomas Wolf – Governor of Pennsylvania – (717) 787 2500

UPDATES: (click on the dates for more details)


Friday, April 24: Mumia Abu-Jamal was seen today by his wife and his condition has worsened. He, is gravely ill. We are asking everyone to call the prison. Right now. It may be late, but call whenever you get this.Mumia needs 24 hour care and supervision. He can not be in this condition in general population. In this state he may not be able ask for help, he may lose consciousness. He is too weak. (He was released from the infirmary two days ago).

His condtiion: He is extremely swollen in his neck, chest, legs, and his skin is worse than ever, with open sores. He was not in a wheelchair, but can only take baby steps. He is very weak. He was nodding off during the visit. He was not able to eat- he was fed with a spoon. These are symptoms that could be associated with hyper glucose levels, diabetic shock, diabetic coma, and with kidney stress and failure.

Please call these numbers, and any other numbers you have for the Prison and the Governor.

Demand that Mumia Abu-Jamal see a doctor ASAP. Right Now!
Demand that the prison officials call his wife Wadiya Jamal and his lawyer Bret Grote immediately.
Demand that he be seen immediately, and the not be left to go into a diabetic coma.

John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy: 570-773-2158 x8102 | 570-783-2008 Fax | 301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 1793

Tom Wolf, PA Gvrnr: 717-787-2500 | governor@PA.gov | 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120

John Wetzel, PA DOC: 717-728-4109 | 717-728-4178 Fax | ra-contactdoc@poc.gov | 1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050

Susan McNaughton, DOC Press secretary 717-728-4025. PA Doc smcnaughton@pa.gov

Wednesday, April 22:

Mumia is still in medical danger. He is weak, in the infirmary, and still needs a wheelchair to come out to visits. In a phone call on Monday his voice was hesitant and lacked its usual vibrancy.

Yesterday, the PA Department of Corrections notified Mumia’s Attorney Bret Grote (of the Abolitionist Law Center) that it would:

  1. Not allow Mumia to be examined by his own doctor;
  2. Not allow Mumia to be examined by an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist);
  3. And they denied access for the doctor to communicate with prison medical staff to assist or direct Mumia’s care; and the Pirson has refused to provide for regular phone calls between Mumia and his doctor. Currently, Mumia can only use the phone every other day for 15 minutes, as the infirmary does not have phone access.

Mumia is being held in the very infirmary that caused his chronic conditions of eczema and late-onset diabetes to become life-threatening. The medical personnel on site were prevented from ordering tests when he was ill in mid-March, and are under the same prison/corporate restrictions today. One postive note, at this time Mumia is being allowed to monitor his own blood sugar multiple times a day, and he is receiving insulin. Since Mumia was hospitalized in ICU on March 30th with life threatening complications from chronic conditions we have been advocating for his treatment. We have to step up our efforts.

Thursday, April 16:

Background (from Prison Radio):

Ms. Marylin Zuniga, a New Jersey public school teacher, demonstrated solidarity and concern when she encouraged her 3rd grade class to send get-well cards to Mumia last week. Unfortunately her positive intentions have caused a predictable backlash; she was immediately suspended and may lose her job.

These cards meant a lot to Mumia at a time when he is very isolated and extremely ill. Delivered by a small cadre of his close friends, including Professor Johanna Fernandez, Pam and Abdul Africa, these cards made Mumia chuckle in appreciation and gratitude. They made him smile at a time when he was so weakened from medical neglect that he could barely stand up. Zuniga tweeted about her excitment for Mumia to get the get-well letters from her students, saying: “My 3rd graders wrote to Mumia to lift up his spirits as he is ill”.

It is necessary that we defend Ms. Zuniga, a Columbia University educated teacher at the beginning of her career. Her actions should be applauded and seen as exemplary.

When Angela Davis was imprisoned on trumped up charges as a result of her political allegiances in the early 1970’s, one million school children in East Germany sent her roses in prison! Not that she was allowed to receive them! Rather, it was a symbol of love and solidarity that reverberated beyond the demarcation of national borders and prison walls.


The meeting with Orange School Board members that we attended last night was like nothing I’ve experienced in my life. We organized to get local people out and the turnout, over 100 people, was impressive. Dozens of people took the mic and spoke powerfully to clear the record on Mumia and in defense of Marylin Zuniga. We were especially impressed by the number of people who got up and spoke about Mumia. Here we have to thank our movement’s longstanding relationship with POP and Larry Hamm. We’ve been working closely with him and the night before the school board meeting, we went to a big event he helped organize at Bethany Baptist church with Cornel West. Larry asked us to talk about the issue from the front of the room, and many of those folks showed up at the Board meeting the next day.

Last night, the Orange School Board came in ready to terminate the teacher, and union lawyers had convinced her to resign at the meeting, in order to protect her teaching license. In fact they tried to convince her to call off the public meeting. But we kept at it with her, offering a challenge to the administration’s line and the public meeting happened. The local protestors were raucous, on fire, and their statements profoundly moving. Collectively we pushed the board back and when the board tried to stem the comments from the audience, one of the board members took a dramatic stance saying that if the public is not allowed to speak there was no reason for her to remain in the meeting, and at that point she walked out in solidarity with us. That was a game changer, a kink in their armor and at that time the crowd exploded with cheers.  Before long the Board met privately and decided not to fire Marylin, to keep her salaried, although still suspended, and to reconvene at a later date to discuss the matter. The protestors also empowered Marylin to stand her ground and to reconsider her resignation which she was going to read at the meeting, but didn’t. She read an edited version instead.  Below please find an article in the star-ledger with videos, and more videos. Please circulate.

Read article here.
Watch video here.

Tuesday, April 14:

Suzanne Ross of the Free Mumia Coalition (NYC) visited Mumia yesterday, April 13 – here is her update:

I saw Mumia yesterday in the visiting room at Mahanory for a little over an hour.  He wheeled himself in in a manually controlled wheel chair.  This was not easy for him.  I then wheeled him to the front desk and where we sat.  He looked better than he did in those widely disseminated photos taken a week ago and, similarly, seemed a little better than Wadiya’s description when she saw him on Thursday.  As I noted in an intro to Wadiya’s report, the different descriptions may reflect some differences in the eyes of the beholders, but mostly I think reflect the fluctuations in the diabetic condition he is suffering from.

To clarify some differences in reports.  Mumia repeated that he had lost over 80 pounds.  This enormous weight loss in such a short period of time causes him pain when he sits, apparently especially in the wheel chair.  I suggested a pillow, which obviously should have been provided with the wheel chair, and he said he would get one.  His skin continued to look motley, multi-colored, and very flakey.  It felt dry,  He said it did not hurt but itched badly, and he has to cover his body with the anti-itching cream he uses repeatedly, as he did before coming out for his visit.   He is still shaking.  Perhaps one of the doctors we are consulting can explain what the shaking is from.  His speech was clear and not at all slurred.  He says he does not have pneumonia, one of the conditions that has been referred to several times, and that his lungs are clear.  The confusion was that one technician confused the scar from his gunshot wound obtained at the time of his original arrest and incarceration in1981 with possible lung damage from pneumonia.  His diet has changed significantly:  he is getting a lot of fruit and vegetables and his calorie intake is being monitored.  It was just increased to 2500 calories a day.  This diet improvement was certainly one of the victories of our campaign, as we expressed outrage at the diet he was being given (pasta for dinner and cake along with oatmeal for breakfast) following a blood sugar level that was so dangerously close to diabetic coma.  The authorities must have been embarrassed by being caught in their wonton neglect of Mumia’s needs, whether coming from malpractice or malevolence.

Mumia was very alert and deep, as usual filled with extensive historical knowledge, as we discussed some of the same kinds of political issues we generally discuss when I visit.  He was occasionally even humorous.  His spirit and intellect remain unquestionably Mumia.  But he is concerned about some loss in his ability to retrieve words, aphasia like symptoms, and he sometimes experiences fugue states.  He apparently did not experience any of these symptoms while I was there.  Mumia continues to be extremely dehydrated.  Very notable to me was the trauma all this has imposed on Mumia, major, major, major physical and emotional trauma.  He feels the steroids given him for his initial skin problem brought on the diabetes, and now the life threatening diabetic picture, not to mention the pain, the itching, the shaking, and the memory issues he described.  ALL DONE TO HIM, IMPOSED ON HIM.

Important to note, in terms of Mumia getting the outside medical help he needs, is that he submitted a grievance he filed regarding the lack of appropriate medical care he is receiving.  This step is necessary before any outside doctors can get permission to go in.  Since all Mumia could do in terms of filing this grievance was to place it in a box, we want to be sure to have a record, albeit informal, of the filing of this grievance just in case it ‘disappears’.

Mumia is deeply grateful to the movement for its love and has great faith in its power.  When I asked if he had any suggestions for what we should be doing, he said “Keep doing what you’re doing.”  So let’s keep those calls, emails, faxes and educational meetings going.

Below is Noelle Hanrahan’s summary of what Mumia needs with regards to doctors.  Please request these when you write or call the individuals listed at the end.


1) Mumia’s chosen private physician has immediate regular phone access to Mumia in the infirmary. Phone access is limited in the infirmary, and Mumia and his physician need to be in conversation throughout each week.

2) His doctor be allowed to communicate freely and regularly with the prison infirmary physicians who are currently overseeing Mumia’s care.

3) The PA Department of Corrections (DOC) allow Mumia’s doctor to schedule an immediate Independent Medical Examination in an examination room with a table and medical instruments.

4) The PA DOC develop a diagnostic and treatment plan adequate to understand any underlying conditions that have contributed to his current ongoing crisis, and that consultation with appropriate specialists be arranged in a timely fashion and be used to assist in this effort.

Monday, April 13:

Explanatory note: If some of the reports from folks who’ve seen Mumia, or simply from hearing his message seem contradictory, please remember that, according to Mumia, his condition, how he feels, the symptoms, etc. go up and down and so different visitors may report somewhat different pictures.  Regardless, he remains very sick and needs independent medical care.  Please continue the calls, signing the petitions, and organizing educational and protest events, leading up to April 24th, Mumia’s birthday.  We will update the numbers and any events planned.  FREE MUMIA, FREE ALL OUR POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

– Suzanne Ross, for International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-JamalLetter from Wadiya:

Wadiya Jamal
With Great Pride

April 11, 2015

On Thursday April 9, 2015 I visited my husband Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI Mahanoy, with Rachel Wolkenstein my lawyer and sister. I had seen Mumia in the ICU at the hospital, where he was sitting upright, hand cuffed to a chair. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6 with my sister Pam Africa, Abdul Jon and Johanna Fernandez. I cried when I saw those photos.  But I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die.

Later on, after the three-hour visit with Mumia, we were guests on NMEMINDZ Radio with Prof. Griff and co-host ZaZa Ali. To you all who love and support Mumia, here are some edited excerpts and an update on Mumia’s medical condition.

Co-host ZaZa Ali welcomed me to the program, saying, “We stand on Mumia’s shoulders for all he has lived through and persevered through….” She asked me to explain how the medical crisis with Mumia started and how he is doing.Wadiya: I want to say something about what you just said… that you all stand on his shoulders. That meant that he is carrying you and all of US. It’s time for US to carry HIM. You understand? Because my husband, he is dying. Don’t feel no way if I get emotional, I’m feeling the way I’m supposed to feel. I’m not coming at you all. But I want to tell you that I just left that man in a wheelchair, trembling.

Mumia had to bring himself down to the visiting room from the prison infirmary in an old wheelchair, not motorized, had to use his arms that were weak and in pain; his breathing was labored.

I was in shock at how he looked. We embraced and kissed. When I saw him reading legal papers his hands were shaking hard. I put my hands on his hands and tried to steady him so he could read the information. He was shivering so hard, my hands were shaking as well. I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. And then the guard comes and tells us “no hugging.” I was just trying to keep him warm. (Other couples were sitting close and snuggling.)

My husband is innocent. He killed no one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, his only crime is he survived a severe gun shot to the chest and a serious ass-whipping by “Philly’s finest” and then they attempted to kill him in his hospital bed by stepping on his urine bag by flushing the poison back on him. And now they are trying to do it again.

The way my husband looks today, it looks like they are going to succeed, unless we get some real doctors up there to take care of him, I mean for real… Mumia’s life is at risk. It is execution by medical neglect and mistreatment… The only way I see that Mumia is going to survive this is if he is free, because I can’t trust any of them.

ZaZa Ali: Do you think his health condition was provoked or was the diabetes something he was struggling with…

Wadiya:  Absolutely not. Mumia didn’t have a history of diabetes. Did you see the picture of Mumia, before his illness, how strong he is, how big he is? You see the difference in him now?!! I’ve never seen him so weak like this in my life. You have to understand that I am angry. I’m hurting. I was rubbing his arms and shoulders, he said baby, keep on rubbing them. I could feel his shoulder blades—that’s how thin he is. I was rubbing his thighs and I could feel the scabs underneath the jump suit. Whatever this stuff is, it is killing Mumia….and it’s on purpose…

I’ve never seen eczema look like that before – this beautiful brown skin, and I know his whole body from his head to his toes, for his body to be like we saw it today and how thin and weak he is…. [See the pictures we took of him showing the bumps and scabs on his arms.] Mumia’s skin was itching and he started scratching and I said to him let me do it and I started patting and that eased it. I was doing it for him and talking to him at the same time. But he’s in pain and I’ve had enough children that I can feel where infection is in your body. I can touch a certain wound or bruise and I can feel heat – that means infection is there.

[See below for an updated summary of Mumia’s medical condition]

Prof. Griff: Is it a farfetched request to push for a medical specialist to check on him?

Rachel: No. The prison is going to fight this, as they do everything, especially when it comes to Mumia. But I don’t believe this a farfetched request and we will get this. It is so necessitated by circumstances here, there has been an international hew and cry and the world is watching. We will get a specialist to look at Mumia and make treatment recommendations But given the way the prison system works, what they consider to be a decent diet and the standard of medical treatment, goes way beyond Mumia to the 2.3 million people who are imprisoned in this country, we need to make this a fight to get Mumia out.

Wadiya: They are killing my husband.

Rachel: Mumia opened up with Wadiya. He described and shared with her what he had not been able to say previously. It was extremely painful and difficult for this strong man, this private man to do. Mumia said that he thinks of himself as strong and while going through all these physical problems he couldn’t acknowledge, and be fully conscious of what was going on with his body.

Mumia said another prisoner, Major Tillery, kept after Mumia, telling him he was really sick, being damaged physically and emotionally; that Mumia needed real medical help. Major told Mumia that he was “fucked up” and “out of it.” Major Tillery filed grievances about the prison conditions leading to skin rashes. Major Tillery had gone directly to SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and point blank said he needed to get Mumia to the hospital. Major Tillery told the Superintendent, “Mumia is dying.” Kerestes told Major Tillery to “take care of himself.”Major answered back, “taking care of Mumia is taking care of myself.” We just learned that yesterday morning Major Tillery was transferred out of Mahanoy to SCI Frackville, where he had previously been kept in the hole. This is retaliation for fighting for Mumia.

Wadiya: So they sent him to another prison without even letting him pack up his property. They are trying to shut him up and sent him to another prison for saying Mumia needs help, he’s dying.

Prof Griff: What is the best way for us here and those who follow our show to do now and give our support?

Wadiya: Demand his freedom.

Rachel: Yes, demand his freedom and also demand the medical treatment needed. That means not only the essential but short term prospective of getting him this medical care, because he is threatened every day. This, as Mumia says is a fight not only for him, but also for all other prisoners. Mumia writes from imprisoned nation, being a lifer is slow death row.

Wadiya:  Now that slow death row is speeding up, as we speak.

Rachel: Mumia’s ability to live out his life is tied to the struggle to get him out. That’s something to take seriously. The state wants to silence Mumia. The fight for his freedom should be understood as the best way to save his life.

Wadiya: There is such a conspiracy against Mumia. People should do more investigating. People should know the evidence that Mumia is innocent.

Rachel: Mumia’s mental condition is good, alert and interested in what is going on. We just heard he is taping a new commentary tonight with Prison Radio, on the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina. That is what Mumia is like …. And why they want to silence Mumia and continue in their attempts execute him.

Prof Griff: How do we intercede — how is this overridden?

Wadiya: We need to fight the same people who put him in prison… In a nutshell – they want to see black men imprisoned for the rest of their lives or in their graves. They want Mumia dead – sooner than later.

Rachel: Legal action is being started on Mumia’s behalf. Attorney Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center will be filing an action in the PA state courts demanding specialist medical treatment and Mumia’s own doctors and has already filed a demand with the PA Department of Corrections. We need to continue the public demands and protests.

From Prof. Griff to Wadiya: You have to stay strong sister.

Wadiya: I’m so weak from staying strong. Not only are we dealing with Mumia’s medical situation, but also we just lost our baby girl. Our baby girl is dead. In the past year, I’ve lost my mother, lost our baby girl. Now I’m supposed to see my husband die??? I have a big problem with that…

Rachel: I think it will also help to write to Wadiya, as well as Mumia especially in this very difficult period. Read Wadiya’s Open Letter of April 5 issued after speaking at the hospital press conference and getting medical reports from the hospital doctors and prison medical staff.

Most people don’t know that Wadiya was the spokesperson for Mumia at the very beginning of the international campaign for Mumia in the later 1980s and early 90s. She helped set the international stage for understanding Mumia’s case, his innocence and the need for us to fight for Mumia’s freedom. Being able to work through her pain and speak for Mumia is hugely important. She is Mumia’s wife and the first advocate for him.

Write to:

Wadiya Jamal, P.O. Box 19404, Kingsessing Station, Philadelphia, PA, 19143-9998.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Rd., Frackville, PA 17932Wadiya: Please, please, please, I beg of everybody to help my husband get free, because he is dying in there.

My eyes don’t lie, my touch don’t lie. I know what I see, I know what I feel. Things that he told us that are personal, I wouldn’t even tell you all the personal things that he said that’s going on with his body.  He just needs to be home. He should never have been in prison to start off. Not a day. Thank you all for opening this up for us.

We love you. Ona Move.

Prof. Griff: We appreciate your coming on and we want you back whenever you can.

Wadiya: Love you back.

Wadiya Jamal, with Big Pride
Send your message back to me via Facebook at:
Write to me at: Wadiya Jamal, PO Box 19404, Kingsessing Station, Philadelphia, Pa. 19143-9998Medical Summary


There was medical neglect and mistreatment of Mumia. In January Mumia asked for treatment for an increasingly serious skin problem that spread over his entire body. He was treated with antibiotics and steroids, both crèmes and pills.Mumia had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they gave him. His body broke out violently in blisters. From the steroids Mumia described swelling up from his feet to his head, like a balloon, his skin ready to bust. He had trouble breathing.

Mumia told us a prison doctor said he looked like he was “in a suit of armor,” his skin was so tight and crusted, his chest raised up to his chin, to create space to breathe.”

It was Mumia who told the doctors he was having an allergic reaction to the medicine he was given. Mumia had at least three blood tests and also ultrasounds. Ultrasounds showed he had a patch of pneumonia and gallstones. Mumia was admitted into the prison infirmary for a week in February. On February 17 Mumia weighed 268 pounds. When he was discharged from the infirmary a week later he had lost over twenty pounds. On March 30, when he was taken to the hospital in a diabetic shock, his weight had dropped to 184 pounds. That’s a loss of 80 pounds in five weeks. His blood sugar levels registered high since at least February. Mumia’s blood pressure was high and the prison was monitoring it periodically.

Blood tests taken on March 6, showed his blood sugar level of over 400. This is a dangerously high level indicating a medical emergency. Almost three weeks later on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock—his sugar glucose when he got to the hospital ICU was near 800, which can be fatal. When Mumia collapsed he had gone to the infirmary for a blood pressure check. His sodium level was also dangerously high and he was dehydrated. If Mumia had gone into the diabetic shock at night in his cell, he would likely have died.

Mumia was not previously a diabetic. This condition grew within a period of about three months during treatment for his skin—which is still covered with scabs. He was told he had eczema because there is a family history. But we heard from other prisoners that they had a similar developing skin condition and grievances were filed at the prison, but no responses.

Wadiya was given medical updates a few times from the Chief Medical Care Adminstrator at SCI Mahanoy. But since Wednesday, April 8, he was not available or his phone line not answered.

Mumia’s physical condition is far from stable. His blood sugar levels are in great flux now, from quite low (below 70) and back up to highs in the 200s.

Mumia told us the special diet he is now given is a 2500 daily calorie diet, with some meats, cereal, white bread and fruit, mostly oranges. But a diabetic diet is not a question of calories, but what foods are made available for him as part of a particularized diet, exercise and regulation of his blood sugars as best for him.

We are all fighting to get a specialist to examine Mumia and set up a treatment plan for him. The question will be what it will take to get that enforced over a continued period of time.

Sunday, April 12:

On Friday, April 10th, supporters of celebrated United States political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal took to the streets of Harlem NYC as a part of a national day of action to demand immediate and adequate medical care for brother Mumia Abu Jamal.  A very diversified crowd of 100 people shut down 125th street during evening rush hour marching and demanding that Mumia get the necessary medical attention needed. Several members of the community joined in on our rally and march as well.

At 6:30pm, Mumia organizers held an emergency organizers meeting at Saint Mary’s church to discuss the issue of Mumia and his current medical situation. Ann Lamb of NYC Jericho gave wonderful overview of the issue of medical neglect in the United States prison system as it relates to our political prisoners. One of the highlights of the evening was a live call in from MOVE political prisoner Delbert Africa who called in live from the state correctional institution from Dallas Pa. Delbert urged the crowd to keep fighting for Mumia and also stressed the important need for unity with this work.

Professor Johanna Fernandez and Dr. Suzanne Ross both respectively of The Campaign To a Bring Mumia Home and the NYC Coalition to Free Mumia Abu Jamal both gave an overview of what’s needed next to help Mumia during this medical crisis and ultimately stated what’s need to bring Mumia home. We still have much work to do so let’s get it going special thanks to Saint Mary’s church Workers World Party / The international Action Center , The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home, Bob Lederer, The NYC coalition To Free Mumia, NYC Jericho movement and most importantly the youth and community members who made all of this possible. FREE MUMIA.

Friday, April 10:

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the PA Department of Corrections, John Wetzel – you can read it here.

Also, a note from Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio:

Last night April 9th Mumia Abu-Jamal called Prison Radio and delivered this commentary ”Of Punks, Predators, & Pigs” on the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina.

Honestly, my reaction when he called, was one of shock. Pam Africa was on my cell and we both said  ”Really Mumia, you want to work?”  He said “I am a nerd what can I say”. I said “Dude, come on, we love you but really, I should not even press record.  He responded with a weak chuckle and said “Noelle, you damn well better record!” Mumia is reaching out to us.  Now we have to reach out for him. Today, Friday April 10th is the National Day of Action calling on people to demand that he have access to health care.

Mumia is not out of danger by any means.  Again his condition is very serious. He has lost 50lbs, his blood sugar levels are not stable, and he has severe chronic conditions that require immediate and adequate attention.  He went from the ICU just days ago (when he was too sick to stand) back to the infirmary at the prison. He at times is too weak to stand. Remember this is the same place where his chronic but treatable conditions became nearly fatal.

Let us be clear:  The prison has the duty to provide health care.  Yet, the pattern and their actions are not in the direction of access and care.

We can change that.

We have just pushed the goal of our Indiegogo campaign to $40 thousand dollars, we have raised $20K in the last week to pay for his Medical/Legal costs.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.   Rise up for Mumia. Take Action Now. Call, Rally, and Demand he receive care.  

Noelle Hanrahan, Prison Radio

Tuesday, April 7:

There are two updates from yesterday’s visit: one from Mumia’s visitors and one from supporters who went to the PA Department of Corrections.

UPDATE 1: Mumia’s Visitors (Pam Africa, Johanna Fernandez, Abdul Jon)

Mumia was very ill when we saw him last Friday, April 3. For that reason, Pam Africa insisted that we return to SCI Mahanoy today,  Monday, April 6, to check on him.

His blood sugar registered in the mid 200s today and continues to fluctuate, and although Mumia is still very weak, he was better than on Friday. He told us that the doctors gave him a double shot of insulin right before he came out for the visit, likely in an effort to make him appear temporarily more energetic than he is. This concerns us because insulin overdose is a possibility in these instances. Again Mumia has not yet been seen by a diabetes specialist, although the general practitioner told him today that perhaps he needs to see a nutritionist. This is a sign that our muckraking is working, since the news has gotten around that he was given spaghetti for lunch when his blood sugar registered at 336.

However, despite this modest progress Mumia  struggled to get out of his wheelchair so that we could take a photo of him. He remained in the wheelchair for the rest of the visit. Mumia also told us that his mind is filled with a million things each day, but he only has the mental and physical capacity to focus on just one thought. He said that he has learned that because he has always had a strong constitution, he had failed to appreciate the centrality of life’s energy force to living. He also shared something that must have been profoundly humiliating and difficult to come to terms with.

Last Thursday, Mumia tried to go to the bathroom in the infirmary. Because he was so weak, he was not able to sustain himself on his feet. He slid down to the floor and waited there, helplessly and unable to call for assistance, for 45 minutes until he was found by a doctor and another prisoner.

We shared a touching moment with Mumia in an effort to raise his spirits. Two teachers delivered letters to us that their students had written to Mumia. One batch came from a 3rd grade class taught by Ms. Marylin Zuniga in Orange, New Jersey. The other batch was from a group of high school students in the Philadelphia Student Union, which fights for school reform and is led by Mr. Hiram Rivera.

It had been a long time since we had seen Mumia smile. He chuckled as he read excerpts from these touching letters.

We share these photos to give you a sense of the gravity of Mumia’s condition. He has lost over 50lbs and his entire body is covered with a hard, leathery layer of jet-black skin, that is bloody, painful and itchy.


We continue to demand that he be allowed to see an independent team of specialists chosen by his family and supporters.

Pam Africa
Johanna Fernandez
Abdul Jon

UPDATE 2: Suzanne Ross and Supporters at PA DOC

Last Friday about 50 Mumia supporters traveled to SCI Mahanoy, where we knew Mumia was placed in the infirmary after being transferred there suddenly and inappropriately from the Intensive Care Unit at Skuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville two days earlier.  No relative or friend had seen Mumia in two days, and given how sick he was it was urgent that we got people in to evaluate his health condition.  As we previously reported, those who went in were extremely disturbed by Mumia’s worsening health, after some signs of stabilization of particularly his blood sugar level.  Right after that visit, several carloads of supporters continued on to the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) Headquarters to demand a meeting with Secretary John Wetzel.  After a long presentation to the press secretary for the DOC, Susan McNaughton, regarding Mumia’s need to have independent medical doctors, a suitable diet, access to specialists, etc. we made it clear that we wanted a response to these demands from Wetzel.  Since Wetzel was not available on Friday, we let the press secretary know that we would definitely return on Monday to get that response.

By 10:30 AM, demonstrating our seriousness in following up on what we said we would do, about 15 of us, coming from four different cities – Pittsburgh , DC, Philly, and NYC – arrived at the DOC. Among our group was Ramona Africa, Attorney Martha Conley from Pittsburgh, Professor Tony Monteiro, Joe Piette of International Action Center, and Paulette D’Auteuil of National Jericho.  We walked right into the lobby and began expressing our expectation of a response from Secretary Wetzel as to how he was going to respond to Mumia’s urgent medical needs which were clearly not being met.  Specifically, we were asking for Mumia to have immediate access to outside doctors and specialists and to an appropriate diet for his serious diabetic condition.   Security promptly tried to eject us.  We gradually left the lobby and went outside, but refused to go to the “staging area” they designated for us.

The level of fear and insulation the DOC showed was striking.  They even brought in  four police cars from the local police force to address the 15 of us!  We had called for people to deluge Wetzel’s office with phone calls requesting that Mumia have access to independent doctors.  We know that the response to our call was very strong as the DOC eventually shut down their phone lines.  It was clear that we were not speaking simply for our small group. Their fear of our movement was apparent.

Wetzel’s message was that he would not meet with us, and that we should ask to meet with the legal office.  When we asked to meet with the head of that office, a Mr. Perez, he too did not respond to our request.   With constant back and forth requests communicated through the head of security, we eventually received the message that the DOC would only meet with Mumia’s wife, Wadiya Jamal, or with attorneys representing Mumia.

While this interaction was going on, one of our lawyers was filing a request with the DOC for precisely the same right: for Mumia to be treated by independent doctors.  At the end of the several hours we spent at the DOC, Pam Africa, Abdul Jon, and Johanna Fernandez who had visited Mumia joined us so we could all pull the day’s activities together.  We will continue to exert pressure on the system to do what it must do for Mumia on all levels available to us.

A luta continua!

Suzanne Ross


Monday, April 6:
We created a petition calling for the following:
  1. Allow daily visits by Mumia’s family, friends, and attorneys.
  2. Allow Mumia’s choice of specialist doctors to examine and schedule treatment for him – NOW.
  3. Provide Mumia with a diet that meets his particular medical needs.
  4. Launch a full investigation of prison healthcare in Pennsylvania.
  5. Mumia is innocent and should never have been incarcerated. Release him immediately!

Please sign and share widely!

Saturday, April 4:


Yesterday, Friday, April 3, a caravan of about 15 cars coming from Philadelphia, NYC, and DC gathered at Mahanoy Prison in a dramatic presence on the road.  With banners, signs, videos, interviews, and chanting the prison was well aware of our presence.  We were demanding that Mumia’s family and supporters be allowed in and that Mumia be seen by outside doctors to treat his very serious medical problems.



The prison initially refused to allow anyone in, but with increasing phone calls and our physical presence they ultimately relented and allowed five visitors to come in for one hour. Though not enough, this was surely a victory and surely a response to the relentless international pressure which continued through the time we were at the prison.  After much negotiating and arbitrary changing rules, the five people did enter.

Their report was very troubling.  On the positive side, our people, including Mumia’s brother, Keith, got into the prison and actually saw Mumia, and let him know about the worldwide support.  They said Mumia’s spirit remains strong, and that he was completely alert, and responsive.  On the negative side, Mumia was brought in in a wheelchair, his blood sugar went up again, he is very weak, he has lost an enormous amount of weight, approximately 80 pounds or so in three months, and he is clearly uncomfortable.  The diet he is being given is completely inappropriate, and dangerous, for someone suffering from such a life threatening condition of diabetes.

mumia_update(@pastpostal65:Mumia’s visitors report to supporters. Slurring words, in a wheelchair, said “I believe in the power of the people.”)

We then went to Camp Hill, headquarters of the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania, right outside Harrisburg.  With our banners, t shirts, sweatshirts, cameras etc, arriving at about 4 PM when they were closing, we were more than visible.  The usual “No, no one is available”, etc. etc. and our usual “We demand that we meet with the Secretary Wetzel or his representative now” scenario played out and we did get a meeting.  It was a stand up, disrespectful way of meeting with us, but nonetheless we met with the Press Secretary and let her know in no uncertain terms that we want outside doctors to see Mumia, evaluate and treat him, and that the prison system has so far brought him close to death.  We were very insistent with this one demand:  we want outside medical doctors to evaluate and treat Mumia immediately. We said we would return on Monday to follow up on this demand.

pam_secretary(@pastpostal65: Prison press scty taking complaints fm Pam Africa – we want mtg Monday! #savemumia)

suzanne_secretary(@pastpostal65: Dr Susanne Ross telling Prison Rep. Mumia needs real care. #savemumia)



Phone calls to Wetzel’s office in particular, but also to Kerestes should continue as much as possible reiterating this demand:  Mumia is deathly ill, the prison system has made him sicker and sicker, and has certainly not shown any signs of helping him recover his health.  We, therefore, demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed to evaluate and treat him immediately. Cite institutional connections if you can.

PA  Secretary of Department of Corrections John Wetzel:  717 728 4109, Ra-crpadocsecretary@pa.gov

Superintendent of SCI Mahanoy, John Kerestes: 570 773 2158

In the face of this life threatening crisis for Mumia,, caused by the Department of Corrections willfully, in yet another attempt to silence Mumia once and for all, the international movement in support of Mumia, has been amazing!  With demonstrations in Berlin and Paris two days ago, that we know of, three demonstrations yesterday between Mahanoy and Camp Hill, Philadelphia, and New York, we are surely on the move!  We will be planning more activities and an overall all out battle plan!  In the meantime, we will be confronting Wetzel at Camp Hill again on Monday, April 6.  Please join us if you can.

Thursday, April 2:

There is an online campaign to raise $20,000 for the following:

    • Pay for lifesaving medical care from Mumia’s doctors who he wishes to consult with
    • Increase our legal and medical campaign to ensure Mumia and his family will be given all new information on Mumia’s condition
    • Obtain Mumia’s medical records for review (his records cost $1.50/page)
    • Cover costs for Mumia’s family, friends and core organizers as they travel to the Medical Center in Pottsville, PA and the prison in Frackville, PA
    • Cover legal fees for Mumia’s attorney

At 7pm last night, April 1, Mumia Abu-Jamal was transferred back to the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy- the same prison infirmary that failed to identify his diabetes, gravely misdiagnosed him, and gave him severely detrimental treatment.

CALL NOW to demand that Mumia’s family, attorney and sister Pam Africa be allowed visitation in the infirmary: 570-773-2158 x 8102

Wednesday, April 1:

Mumia’s youngest brother, Bill Cook, and his oldest son, Jamal Hart, have been able to visit him today for 30 minutes each. Mumia’s condition was distressing. Jamal Hart left the room after ten minutes, distressed that his father was in pain. Bill Cook reports that Mumia was very ill. He had labored breathing, was in pain, thirsty, and he was shaking. He also had difficulty getting out of bed. He was chained with one hand to the rail. Except for the two short visits on Monday and Tuesday, he was without any family contact. He was denied all other visits including legal visits.

As of today, a new prison rule is going to prevent his wife Wadiya and his brother Keith from visiting again for an entire week. The new rule states that only one visit per week per immediate family member will be allowed. This also means that there will be many times when we will not have any contact with Mumia during this critical week. Please do continue calling the prison and medical center to demand that Wadiya and Keith can visit Mumia again this week!

Tuesday, March 31:

Thanks to the deluge of calls to Pa. prison officials demanding that Mumia’s family be allowed to visit him, his wife Wadiya and brother Keith Cook were granted 30-minute hospital visits on Tuesday (March 31) morning. They reported that he was coherent, alert, and eating heartily, but weak. But there’s no guarantee as to when and how often they can return, nor when his lawyer can see him.


We need everyone to keep calling the Pa. prison authorities to demand that his case be reviewed by doctors representing his family (also give his birth name, Wesley Cook).

  • Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, 717-728-4109 or ra-crpadocsecretary@pa.gov
  • Pennsylvania Bureau of Health Care Director Chris Oppman, 717-728-5311
  • Schuylkill Medical Center Superintendent Mark Lory, 570-621-5000
  • Mahanoy State Correctional Institute Superintendent John Kerestes, 570-773-2158

The fight-back is strong and continues:

  • There is a large international campaign to get Mumia the care he needs.
  • There was a press conference on the afternoon of March 31 outside the hospital, featuring his family, lawyer, and supporters drew significant corporate media coverage. See AP account here.
  • “Family and friends are not leaving Pottsville. Mumia is not out of danger and we will remain vigilant and mobilized.”

  • For the past three months Mumia has been suffering from an extreme eczema outbreak, with raw, blistered and bloody skin. During this time, Mumia alerted several supporters and prison doctors about the depths of his concern. Not only did they fail to adequately address the situation, but, as Pam Africa said, “They gave him the wrong medication which made his condition worse.”
  • Bret Grote, one of Mumia’s attorneys, with the Abolition Law Center, said: “Mumia does not have a history of diabetes, but had been experiencing a series of symptoms that should have alerted medical staff at the prison to the onset of the disease. Instead, he was not given comprehensive diagnostic treatment and a medical crisis emerged that could have resulted in his slipping into a diabetic coma or worse.”
  • Pam Africa of MOVE said, “Prison officials are lying.  Mumia is going through torture at the hands of Department of Corrections through medical neglect. It is clear to people that they want to kill Mumia. Inmates on the inside who questioned what was happening have been subjected to direct retaliation by the superintendent. They have been moving concerned inmates out of Mumia’s unit in an effort to both bury and keep this critical information from the public.”
  • In December, in alarmingly similar circumstances, political prisoner Phil Africa of the MOVE organization was suddenly hospitalized and denied family visits as well as medical updates, and within a week he died.


As Bret Grote wrote today: “The state keeps trying to kill Mumia – spied on by the FBI since he was 15, shot in the chest and severely beaten on December 9, 1981, framed for a killing he did not commit and put on death row, held in solitary confinement under threat of execution for 30 years, and now denied competent, basic medical care. He is alive because the movement has fought like hell to make it so. The government of the united states of apartheid can never be trusted to protect the rights or respect the lives of Black people or those held in prison. Never forgive, never forget. Stay alert and ready to act. Free Mumia!”


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