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Please Sign & Circulate this Petition: Governor Andrew Cuomo: Close down Attica Prison

New York State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We are asking today that you take a principled stance against one of our country’s most enduring symbols of brutality and racism by closing Attica Correctional Facility. Closing Attica would not resolve larger systemic problems, but would be a first step on the part of New York State to address the widespread violations of basic human rights that exist throughout the prison system.

In September of 1971, the men incarcerated in New York State’s Attica Correctional Facility staged a four-day protest against the inhumane conditions they were forced to endure. They were demanding that their basic civil and human rights be respected. Nelson Rockefeller, New York’s governor at the time, refused to negotiate with the protesters about their more than legitimate demands. Instead, Rockefeller sent in the State Police and the New York National Guard to end the protest. During the siege, the state forces killed 39 people, including 10 correctional officers.

Today, conditions remain largely the same throughout the prison system. While other prisons, both in New York State and throughout the US, are also very brutal, Attica, because of its legendary 1971 uprising and massacre, is a symbol in this country and around the world of a horrific, brutal, racist system and a nation characterized by mass incarceration. 

Four decades after the uprising, Attica does not only stand as a symbol for a legacy of racism and a culture of brutality, but many of the actual conditions remain as they were in 1971. Governor Cuomo, you stated that prisons should not be used as a “jobs program”. You have closed some prisons, but these closures did not include any maximum security prisons, where much of the worst brutality occurs. Attica is both an example and a major site of the abusive conditions that prevail in New York’s maximum security prisons. We request, simply, that you reject the culture of brutality and racism which the prison system is currently built on and close Attica. If we are committed to humanity, respecting the lives of those lost in 1971, and the many brutalized today, we must close Attica.

 Sincerely,

 Name:  _________________________________________________

City:  ___________________________________________________

email address_____________________________________________

NO LIFE SENTENCE!! FREE MUMIA NOW!! please forward widely

NO LIFE SENTENCE!! FREE MUMIA NOW!! please forward widely

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2012 

Judge Dembe Denies Mumia’s Post-Sentence Motion

Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein



NO LIFE SENTENCE!! FREE MUMIA NOW!!

Judge Pamela Dembe President of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas affirmed her secret sentencing of Mumia Abu-Jamal to life imprisonment and dismissed Mumia’s post-sentence motion, on October 1 according to the court docket records. Dembe’s order followed the DA’s motion to dismiss, which outrageously asserted that a life sentence was “the precise relief” Mumia sought overt the past thirty years!

The DA’s motion centered on a false rendition of the prosecution’s “evidence” against Mumia—it went way beyond the even the perjured and coerced testimony that was presented at the trial. Needless to say, it ignored the federal court rulings that Mumia was unconstitutionally and illegally sentenced to death.

It was Judge Dembe who deemed it irrelevant that Judge Albert Sabo, the trial judge and PCRA judge from 1995-1998, admitted his bias and racism with his declaration, overheard by a court stenographer, “Yes, I’m going to help them fry the n——-.” It was Sabo’s instruction to the jury that the courts found to be illegal. Dembe in 2001 refused to hold an evidentiary hearing on Sabo’s bias as well as new evidence of Mumia’s innocence, including the confession of Arnold Beverly who swore he was the man who killed police officer Daniel Faulkner.

On August 13, 2012, Judge Dembe imposed a life sentence without parole on Mumia, without even notifying him. This was in flagrant violation of constitutional and PA statutory law, intended to foreclose Mumia’s right to challenge his sentence to “slow death row,” life sentence without parole. Had Mumia known of the impending sentencing, he would have argued for immediate release from prison pursuant to a motion for extraordinary relief based on thirty years of solitary confinement on death row pursuant on an illegal sentence. The decade he spent in solitary confinement, while the DA tried to get the death sentence reinstated by the Federal Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court, was retaliation against Mumia for not being silenced.

Mumia’s post-sentence motion challenged Judge Dembe’s secret proceeding. It also was a constitutional challenge to life imprisonment without parole as a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the Pennsylvania Constitution’s prohibition against cruel punishments, evolving standards of decency and international law. It further challenged solitary confinement and the fact that death row prisoners are illegally kept in solitary.

Mumia’s challenge to a life-imprisonment sentence unified the fight of all those men and women who are fighting state torture, the death sentence, the “slow death row” of life imprisonment and the debilitating and degrading conditions of incarceration. Having been defeated and denied a “legal lynching,” the state wants Mumia to rot away in prison. Our fight continues to be freedom for Mumia, as part of the fight for liberation of all mankind
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