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Attorneys from the Abolitionis Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state’s penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.
In an hour-long interview with Dave Lindorff on ThisCantBeHappening’s radio show “This Can’t Be Happening!” that aired last Wednesday on PRN.fm, Abolitionist Law Center founder and legal director Bret Grote says that Abu-Jamal, who is serving a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, was allowed to develop a case of diabetes through poor diet and medical neglect in the SCI_Mahanoy prison where he is incarcerated, and then, when finally rushed to a hospital after he had collapsed in diabetic shock, was barred from seeing supporters and relatives (even his wife and brother!) or even his attorneys, on orders of the DOC.
Grote says that intense pressure from local and international supporters, who demonstrated outside the hospital and deluged the DOC and the Governor’s Office with calls and emails, led the DOC to relent and allow some brief visits, but then began denying Abu-Jamal’s attorneys access to his medical records.
Grote, who earllier won a major victory in the same federal court district, overturning a recently passed “anti-Mumia” law passed unanimously by the state legislator barring state prison inmates from talking or writing about their cases, talks about this latest attack on Abu-Jamal and all prisoners, and about the intentionally inadequate and punitive medical support provided to state inmates on the program, which can be heard by clicking here
Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).