The former Black Panther and former death row inmate has begun his life term.
For the first time since his arrest of a Philadelphia police officer three decades ago, former Black Panther and former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal has been moved into the general prison population.
Announced by Susan McNaughton, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Abu-Jamal was moved Friday from a restricted housing unit where he had largely been in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day.
"This is a very important moment for him, his family, and all of his supporters. We are all grateful for the roles played by so many in getting him off death row after so very long," said Judith L. Ritter, a law professor and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Widener University, who represented Abu-Jamal in recent appeals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 1982, Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner the previous year. In early 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that the original trial judge’s instructions to the jury had been unfairly weighted toward execution. The decision was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in October.
In December, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said that he would not seek a new death penalty hearing, and agreed to a life term.
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