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Supreme Court urged to reinstate death penalty against former Black Panther and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced shock at the US authorities' determination to secure the death penalty against ex-radio presenter and Black Panther militant Mumia Abu-Jamal, a symbol of the struggle against capital punishment. Abu-Jamal has spent 26 years on death row.

His lawyer, Robert Bryan, said on 20 October 2008 that the State of Pennsylvania had at the start of the month appealed to the Supreme Court to restore the penalty against him.

Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of the murder of a white police officer. In March this year, the Pennsylvania appeal court commuted the penalty to life imprisonment on the basis that information before the jury at the time might not have prompted jurors to consider extenuating circumstances, which could have meant he avoided the death penalty.

"We hope that the nine judges will confirm the decision made in March and that they will grant the request of Robert Bryan, who is shortly to lodge an appeal on the basis of racism, because of flagrant irregularities in the jury selection process in 1982," the worldwide press freedom organisation said."

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