The NUJ is protesting against the outrageous treatment of a journalist on death row in Pennsylvania, who is being denied access to medical treatment he urgently needs.
Mumia Abu Jamal, an African-American journalist, has been on death row in Pennsylvania for 30 years in a case that is seen internationally as one of America’s worst miscarriages of justice.
For the past three months the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has denied him the specialised treatment he urgently needs. The NUJ and journalist unions from around the world are joining forces to press the authorities to urgently allow specialist medics to treat Mumia.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
“The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland has long campaigned for a retrial of Mumia Abu Jamal. This is a tragic and monumental miscarriage of justice that has blighted the life of a man who was clearly targeted because of his work as a campaigning journalist, exposing corruption and racism. Depriving him of the medical attention he so desperately needs is a further and unnecessary act of cruelty and inhumanity. It is time for Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania, to act immediately to get Mumia the treatment he needs.”
— NUJ (@NUJofficial) June 26, 2015
Mumia has consistently denied the allegation that he killed a white policeman and, despite a lengthy campaign to obtain a fair trial, his appeals have been consistently refused.
In his time on death row, he has faced the stress of being given executions dates twice, sentences that were later halted thanks to worldwide campaigning for his cause, which led the authorities in 2011 to commute his sentence to life in prison without parole.
In 1995, the NUJ granted Mumia Abu-Jamal honorary membership of the NUJ – the first time in its history that the NUJ granted honorary membership.