Rage Against The Machine have announced plans to play a benefit concert at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ on January 28, 1999, with proceeds to be donated to the International Concerned Family And Friends Of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Also announced is opening band Bad Religion and a special appearance by the Beastie Boys. Other special guests to be announced.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an African-American print and radio journalist who has been politically active in the city of Philadelphia since his days as a teenage member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. He is the former President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, the recipient of a Major Armstrong Award for radio journalism, and was named one of Philadelphia's "People To Watch" in 1981 by Philadelphia Magazine.
In 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was indicted for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman, Daniel Faulkner. His trial was presided over by Judge Albert Sabo, who had already sentenced 26 defendants to death, of whom 24 were African-American. Convicted and sentenced to death for the murder, Mumia Abu-Jamal has been on Pennsylvania's death row ever since. Abu-Jamal's case has attracted international attention; Amnesty International, among other human rights organizations, supports his request for a new trial.
Mumia's post-conviction relief appeal, his final state appeal, was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 26, 1998. A death warrant is imminent. Pennsylvania law mandates the Death Warrant be signed within 90 days of the Supreme Court ruling. Mumia would only have 30 days (or, the length of the execution warrant) to file his only federal habeas corpus petition, which may get him a temporary stay of execution from a federal judge.
Tom Morello comments "Mumia's trial was a gross miscarriage of justice. Just unbelievable. 'Highlights' included prosecutorial misconduct, intimidation of witnesses by the police, suppression of evidence of Mumia's innocence, a jury illegally purged of African Americans, a hostile, racist judge and a prosecution who argued for the death penalty based on Abu-Jamal's political beliefs! Mumia is an outspoken revolutionary, a hero to millions around the world and we will not allow his voice to be silenced. We join with Amnesty International in demanding a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal. This is no ordinary show. We are playing for a man's life."