World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Overturning Death Sentence Falls Short Of Justice

USA: Mumia Abu-Jamal -- Overturning of death sentence falls short of full justice

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

19 December 2001 AMR 51/183/2001 225/01

The overturning of Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence is a welcome step, but it leaves unanswered all the questions about the fairness of his original trial, which did not comply with international justice standards, Amnesty International said today.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial was violated in 1982, but yesterday's ruling clearly failed to address this," the organization added, renewing its call for new proceedings to be opened in his case.

On 18 December 2001, federal judge William H. Yohn Jr. overturned the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal on the grounds that the judge's instruction to the jury during the penalty phase of the original trial was confusing and therefore faulty. The ruling allows the prosecution 180 days to reconvene a new sentencing hearing. Should they fail to hold the hearing within that time frame, the sentence will automatically be commuted to life imprisonment.

"Indications that the state of Pennsylvania will continue to seek the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal by appealing this decision to a higher court are also a cause of great concern," Amnesty International said.

"There is little doubt that -- should they fail to have this decision overturned -- the prosecution will again argue to a jury that Mumia Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to death. This is particularly worrying because the highly political nature of this case raises doubts as to the impartiality of the justice officials who represent the state," the organization added, urging the Philadelphia Attorney General to desist from seeking the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

"Regardless of yesterday's decision, the best interests of justice would be served by granting Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial," the organization concluded.

Background Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of a police officer. He has always claimed he is innocent. In February 2000, Amnesty International completed an exhaustive review of his trial and released its finding in A Life in the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The organization found that, as in so many of the trials of the men and women condemned to death across the USA, Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial was in violation of international law and standards governing the imposition of capital punishment.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied effective and adequate legal representation and was denied the right to legally represent himself. African Americans appear to have been systematically removed form the jury, thereby denying him the right to be judged by a panel that represented the racial make up for the area. His lawyer was denied sufficient funds to hire experts that challenged the state's version of events. Throughout his trial, the judge appeared to be overtly hostile to Mumia Abu-Jamal and have a bias in favour of the prosecution.

**********************

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news