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Silent vigil held in honour of US activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, imprisoned for 37 years

JOURNALIST and black activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been imprisoned for 37 years in the United States, was honoured with a silent vigil today in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Organised by Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike and Payday men’s network, the vigil took place on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church, part of worldwide action on the expected day of a US hearing likely to lead to the reopening of his case.

But the Star learned from disappointed demonstrators that the hearing, in Philadelphia, had been postponed until August 30.

Mr Abu-Jamal, a former spokesman for the Black Panther Party and a radical journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless,” was convicted of killing a policeman in 1982 at the end of a trial campaigners say was “drenched in racism.”

He spent almost three decades on death row and is now on life sentence without parole.

His supporters say Mr Abu-Jamal has consistently spoken out against injustice everywhere while fighting for his freedom and against the prison system.

They are hoping that international support will make clear to the US authorities that people around the world are watching and that it will bring attention to the struggle of prisoners in Britain, in particular against solitary confinement, racism and other discrimination.

Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike organiser Sarah Callaway told the Star: “Mumia has spoken out about grassroots women and has supported hunger strikes in prison and for those on death row and solitary confinement.”

Legal Action for Women’s Niki Adams said: “Mumia came up against a ‘hanging judge,’ the jury was stripped of black people and he was excluded from the hearing.

“The [delayed] hearing is disappointing because nothing has been decided, but we are hopeful that it’s not finished.

“It gives [Mr Abu-Jamal’s team] time to mobilise and make sure the evidence comes out in the strongest way.”

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