The controversy surrounding the trial and conviction of activist, journalist and former Black Panther Party member Mumia Abu-Jamal is known the world over. Since his conviction, Mumia Abu-Jamal has been a rallying point for activists who decry the seeming injustices swirling around his trial and conviction. The decades long debate over his guilt or innocence resurfaced on Tuesday after news that a new sentencing hearing had been ordered in his case.
Guilt or innocence notwithstanding, Mumia’s case (and others like it) brings issues of fair trial and prisoners rights to the forefront. A journalist by profession, the popularity of his case has perhaps given Mumia Abu-Jamal a broader audience and a more prominent platform than his freedom might have offered. He constantly addresses current events from Death Row, keeping his voice heard, even from behind bars. And that, albeit unfortunately, is his greatest value to the prison struggle. As one of America’s most famous prisoners, Mumia and his supporters have forced many to consider the existence and condition of political prisoners in the USA.