Philadelphia political prisoners fight on: You can help!

The struggle to liberate two lifelong Black freedom fighters and longtime political prisoners from Philadelphia is gearing up, and your help is needed.

Delbert Africa will soon have a new parole hearing after serving nearly 42 years in prison. One of the MOVE 9 political prisoners, Brother Delbert was unjustly imprisoned after a Philadelphia police attack on the MOVE family in 1978 resulted in the death of a cop from “friendly fire.” 

Two of the MOVE 9 died in prison: Phil Africa and Merle Africa. Five have been released on parole since last fall. Delbert’s parole hearing will take place this fall, followed by Chuck Africa in December.

Over the summer, hundreds of supporters wrote letters to the parole board urging Delbert’s release, while his recently freed MOVE 9 comrades — Janet, Janine and Eddie — spoke out at public events. 

Now “Phase II” of the Bring Delbert Home campaign is underway. Supporters are asked to take a selfie with a sign that says, “I support parole for Delbert Africa,” and post it on social media with the hashtag #BringDelbertHome

“Our community has supported those who came home to excel and we are committed to doing the same for Del,” explains the MOVE family website. “From having one of his daughters murdered during the bombing of MOVE headquarters by the government to having his eldest daughter battling breast cancer, it’s overdue for him to be with his family.”

For more information on Delbert Africa and updates on the parole campaign, visit OnaMOVE.com

Mumia fights to have new evidence heard

Meanwhile, renowned people’s journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal is fighting to have new evidence heard about the unfair, racist nature of his 1982 trial. 

On Sept. 3, Abu-Jamal’s attorneys submitted two documents to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. One is a brief on the constitutional violations and discrimination that marred his trial. The other is a motion containing new evidence of these violations, including bribery of witnesses by the prosecutor and racial bias in jury selection.

Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death for the killing of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner. He has always maintained his innocence. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison after a worldwide outcry and powerful protest movement on his behalf.

Attorneys are asking the Superior Court to send Abu-Jamal’s case back to the Court of Common Pleas “so that he may present newly discovered evidence.” This follows last year’s ruling by Judge Leon Tucker reinstating Abu-Jamal’s post conviction relief action petitions. 

Mumia, known as “the voice of the voiceless,” has also been fighting for his health after almost four decades in prison. He was finally granted treatment for hepatitis C after years of protest. It took another prolonged fight, including petitions and direct actions at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, to win cataract surgery for his failing eyesight. Abu-Jamal received surgery on his left eye on Aug. 29, with a follow-up operation on the other eye expected later in September.

“I just got released from prison after 41 years in May,” said Janine Africa of the MOVE 9. “I want to say, everyone work hard to bring Mumia home so he can be taken care of and get proper medical care. He don’t deserve to be in jail from the beginning.”

For more information on how to get involved and for legal updates, visit Mobilization4Mumia.  Listen to Abu-Jamal’s commentaries at Prison Radio.

Photos: MOVE #BringDelbertHome campaign