Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Movement urges action to support Mumia Abu-Jamal, US political prisoner of the Black Liberation Movement. Abu-Jamal is a revolutionary journalist and former Minister of Information for the Philadelphia Black Panthers; he has been wrongfully imprisoned for over 32 years, 30 of them on Death Row. Throughout that time, he has continued to write and share his voice and vision with revolutionary movements in the US and around the world. He is one of the signatories of the “Black For Palestine” statement, with 10 other Black Liberation political prisoners in US jails.
Mumia is now facing retaliatory transfer – also a common method of punishment against Palestinian leaders and strugglers in Israeli jails. He is also being denied medical care – again, an experience of Palestinian political prisoners that has led to death on multiple occasions. The US and the State of Pennsylvania are responsible for Mumia’s life and health, which is currently in severe danger. As Johanna Fernandes notes, “The denial of the Hepatitis C cure to Mumia –while his medical condition remains precarious and while his disfiguring skin condition continues to cause him unthinkable suffering –is cruel and unusual punishment, and torture through medical neglect.”
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! Stop Retaliatory Transfer, Full Medical Treatment Now!
MUMIA FACES RETALIATORY TRANSFER
September 7, 2015. Two days ago, prison staff boxed-up all Mumia’s personal effects from his cell while he was in the prison infirmary trying to recover from the prison’s medical malfeasance and neglect that nearly killed him. The handling of prison property in the absence of a prisoner is a violation of prison procedures. After signing the forms required when prisoner property is placed in storage, Mumia asked if he was about to be moved to a different facility, since the boxing up of a prisoner’s property usually precedes a transfer. An officer assured him that he would not be transferred; but this all seemed really strange to Mumia.
A retaliatory transfer to some other prison would be a new blow against Mumia’s health, and would steep him and his family in greater fear and uncertainty.
Why do we sense retaliation? Because Mumia’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit charging the PA Department of Corrections with medical neglect, i.e. with failure to diagnose his disease in a timely way and with continuing to deny him adequate treatment of his debilitating and life-threatening Hepatitis C condition. The PA Department of Corrections was set to respond to the lawsuit this Thursday in court. A transfer to another prison, without giving him fully professional healthcare, would be retaliatory. Indeed it would be an attack Mumia, another way for his enemies to see him dead.We must stop any retaliatory transfer. No transfer of Mumia should take place that does not take him to a quality medical center for cure of his very serious, but treatable, Hepatitis C condition. Keep up the fight for Mumia’s life!
CALL the PA Department of Corrections and Mumia’s prison – starting now. Here’s the message:
Stop Any Retaliatory Transfer!
Treat-to-Cure Mumia’s Hepatitis C Now!
Phone in both of these demands to –
John Wetzel, Secretary of Corrections, Pennsylvania
Phone: (717) 728-2573
John Kerestes, Superintendent, SCI-Mahanoy prison
Phone: (570) 773-2158
Mumia’s lawyers on the denial of medical care:
The following is a summary of the medical issues currently confronting Mumia Abu-Jamal, now a prisoner at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania. A detailed presentation of his issues is contained in the papers filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in the case of Abu-Jamal v. Kerestes and will be made available upon request.
Mumia Abu Jamal is suffering from “active” hepatitis C, a serious liver disease. Tests performed over the last several months show that Mr. Abu-Jamal’s liver likely has “significant fibrosis” (scarring) and deteriorated function. The disease has also manifested itself in other ways. He has a persistent, painful skin rash over most of his body.
Our consulting physician, who visited Mr. Abu-Jamal has concluded that it is likely a disease known as necrolytic acral erythma, a condition that is almost always associated with an untreated hepatitis C infection. Mr. Abu-Jamal has been diagnosed with “anemia of chronic disease”, another common consequence of hepatitis C. He has sudden-onset adult diabetes, a complication that led to an episode of diabetic shock on March 30, 2015. Most recently, he has begun to lose weight again.
Mr. Abu Jamal’s hepatitis C can be cured – and the painful and dangerous consequences alleviated– if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) would administer the direct acting anti-viral medication that has now become the standard for treatment for hepatitis C infections.
According to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD), this hepatitis C treatment “results in sustained virologic response (SVR) which is tantamount to virologic cure”. The AASLD protocol has been adopted by the United States Bureau of Prisons.
Under that protocol, Mr. Abu-Jamal is a candidate for immediate treatment
The DOC has known of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s hepatitis C infection since 2012- but never conducted a complete hepatitis C workup until recently. His skin condition, which had been intermittent for several years, worsened and became constant in August 2014. His health had deteriorated to such an extent that he was admitted to the hospital in May 2015. Over those eight days numerous tests were conducted that ruled out many conditions, including some cancers.
Those tests led the doctors to conclude that the symptoms were likely caused by the hepatitis C. In June 2015, after Mr. Abu-Jamal’s release from the hospital, his attorneys demanded that a complete hepatitis C workup be conducted and treatment administered. But it took several weeks for those simple blood tests to be taken.
They concluded that Mr. Abu-Jamal does, in fact, have an active hepatitis C infection. Notwithstanding that determination, and Mr. Abu-Jamal’s continued suffering and deteriorated health, he has not been given the anti-viral drugs.
As our consulting expert had concluded, “failure to treat Mr. Abu-Jamal’s hepatitis C will result in serious harm to his health, as his current-hepatic symptoms will not be cured, and he faces an increasingly serious risk of suffering from fibrosis and cirrhosis, liver cancer, complications of his diabetes, and eventual death.”
A motion for an injunction seeking treatment is pending in federal court.
However, the treatment, as our medical expert has stated, should begin “immediately”.
Given the overwhelming and undisputed evidence that Mr. Abu-Jamal is suffering from an active infection, treatment should not await a determination by the court. It must begin now.
AN URGENT MESSAGE:
Competent Medical Care, Not Transfer
Administer the Hepatitis C cure to Mumia & the 10,000 PA Prisoners with the disease, NOW!
September 7, 2015
At the urging of Pam Africa, I visited Mumia yesterday, Sunday, September 6. Pam got word from inside that Mumia’s cell had been raided by prison authorities.
As you know, after a series of hospitalizations in March and April 2015, Mumia has remained in the prison infirmary. During this time, most of his property has remained in his old cell. According to Mumia, on Friday, September 4, officers rushed him out of his regularly-scheduled medical bath to inform him that all the belongings in his cell had been packed up and placed in storage. The handling of prison property in the absence of a prisoner is a violation of prison procedures. After signing the forms required when prisoner property is placed in storage, Mumia asked if he was about to be moved to a different facility, since the boxing up of a prisoner’s property usually precedes a transfer. An officer assured him that he would not be transferred; but this all seemed really strange to Mumia.
These developments follow the immediate aftermath of a medical lawsuit filed by Mumia charging the DOC with medical neglect. Coming at this moment, a prison transfer would not be in Mumia’s best interest as it would disrupt contact with his attorneys and isolate him from his family and supporters. In addition, a move would put Mumia’s at risk; it would further compromise his physical and mental health and interrupt his medical care. The only transfer acceptable would be safe transit to a professional facility that would guarantee the medical attention he needs for a cure of his “active” Hepatitis C condition, for which there is a cure.
As you know, Mumia has been in an acute health crisis for over 9 months, since January 2015. In March 2015, prison infirmary physicians allowed Mumia to fall into diabetic shock and come close to death.
Please urge the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to act in Mumia’s best interests and refrain from transferring him. Please also urge the DOC to give Mumia, and the 10,000 PA Prisoners with Hepatitis C, the cure he needs.
Recently, Mumia has lost approximately 25lbs in two months. Although his spirits are high and his cognitive abilities have improved, he still sleeps all day and is suffering extreme lethargy, a bi-product of untreated, “active” Hepatitis C, a liver disease. The skin around his face is clearer than before and although his leg wounds have closed, they have left crater-like scars, which can erupt at any moment. The skin throughout his body remains jet-black, raw, extremely wrinkled, and rough, like elephant hide. Nails on his hands and feet are falling off and the palms of his hands are blackened. These conditions are also symptoms of his untreated, “active” Hepatitis C.
The denial of the Hepatitis C cure to Mumia –while his medical condition remains precarious and while his disfiguring skin condition continues to cause him unthinkable suffering –is cruel and unusual punishment, and torture through medical neglect.
Demand the Hepatitis C cure for Mumia and for the 10,000 PA Prisoners with the disease, NOW!
John Wetzel, Secretary of Corrections, Pennsylvania Phone: (717) 728-2573
John Kerestes, Superintendent, SCI-Mahanoy prison: Phone: (570) 773-2158
love and solidarity,
for Pam Africa and the Movement to Free Mumia &
the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home