FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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FRACKVILLE, PA—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to give NLG Jailhouse Lawyer Vice President Mumia Abu-Jamal immediate independent and specialized health care, including his choice of medical specialists.
On March 30, Mr. Abu-Jamal collapsed in the prison infirmary at SCI Mahanoy from diabetic shock before being hospitalized in the ICU at Schuylkill Medical Center. Despite his serious condition, he was transferred back to the prison just two days later. Although he had sought care for classic warning signs of the disease over the previous three months, including extreme weight loss and severe eczema, the prison infirmary had failed to diagnose him with type 2 diabetes which, with proper medical attention, could have potentially prevented Mr. Abu-Jamal’s current illness.
The medical attention given to Mr. Abu-Jamal thus far has been administered without adequate information and has raised questions of medical neglect, as it was only after a flood of calls by activists and supporters to officials at SCI Mahanoy that he was allowed a handful of very brief visits by family. His family and attorneys are demanding he see a diabetes specialist and dermatologist who is independent of the Pennsylvania DOC health care system.
“Mumia’s medical situation is serious, he remains at risk, and must be allowed immediate and independent medical care without further delay,” said NLG member Bret Grote, attorney for Abu-Jamal. “We applaud the thousands of supporters worldwide who have called the Pennsylvania DOC demanding immediate medical attention and visitation rights for Mumia and encourage people of conscience to continue doing so until demands are met,” he added.
“Abu-Jamal’s voice and his political analysis have guided our work to end racially discriminatory mass incarceration. Now we must speak up for him, as he confronts yet another problem endemic to US prisons—lack of adequate health care,” said Pooja Gehi, Executive Director of the NLG.
Imprisoned for the killing of a police officer more than 30 years ago, Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author whose case and writings about the criminal justice system from inside prison have garnered international attention. A former Black Panther, the NLG has long maintained that Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case has been from the outset, plagued with procedural irregularities and blatant constitutional violation, and that he is entitled to a new and fair trial.
-Read, sign, and share this petition by Mumia’s supporters, including a list of demands.
Superintendent John Kerestes
Chief Health Care Administrator Steinhardt
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections