Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Statement on Judge Yohn's rejection of new evidence

In a 19 July ruling, Judge William H. Yohn sided with the state of Pennsylvania and rejected the request of Mumia Abu Jamal's new legal team to depose Arnold Beverly, who has made a sworn confession that he, not Mumia, shot Officer Daniel Faulkner. In his confession Beverly admits that he was "paid to shoot and kill Faulkner" because he had become a "problem for the mob and corrupt policemen." Along with this explosive new information, Mumia's new lawyers introduced affidavits by Mumia and his brother Billy Cook attesting to his evidence. Yohn's ruling is based on the Democrats' Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 which was designed to abort appeals by those wrongfully convicted of crimes. In his ruling Yohn advised Pennsylvania's state courts to also refuse to admit the Beverly affidavit.

The introduction of Beverly's confession is a major development in a case of national and international importance, but, apart from local coverage in Philadelphia, it has been ignored by the capitalist media in the U.S. Mumia fired his previous attorneys, Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams, for refusing to represent his interests and failing to introduce this evidence earlier. In a statement issued on 10 May Mumia observed that lawyers "are agents of freedom or they are aiders and abettors of repression" and told his supporters:

"You have seen lawyers violate their own rules with total abandon with the blessing of the courts. "How can you say you don't believe in the system and then believe lawyers who betrayed their so-called client's interests?"

Yohn's ruling and the blackout by the major media in order not to interfere with the state's drive to murder Mumia, the "voice of the voiceless," is a stark reminder of the brutal racist reality behind imperialist propaganda about "freedom," "truth" and "American justice."

The International Bolshevik Tendency calls on the many tens of thousands of working people, blacks, anti-racist youth and leftist activists around the world who have participated in Mumia' defense over the years to spread the word about this latest outrage and prepare to launch a new round of intensified struggle to win Mumia's freedom.

Read the 3 July post-conviction petition by the new legal team arguing for the introduction of Beverly's evidence and explaining how Weinglass and Williams failed Mumia. {Word document - 637k or zipped word document - 181K}
Yohn's 19 July ruling is also available (300k PDF file of scanned document)

Also available are the texts of the following affidavits to the court
Mumia Abu-Jamal
William Cook
Arnold Beverly
Donald Hersing

Published: 27 July 2001