Updates from the prison files: Manning and Mumia

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Earlier this week, attorneys for the alleged Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning issued a new request for the military to dismiss all charges in the case, Democracy Now! reported. On Tuesday, Manning attorney David Coombs said military prosecutors had committed “widespread discovery violations” that should allow Manning to walk free without prejudice. Yesterday, Colonel Denise Lind rejected Manning’s attorney claims of “prosecutorial misconduct” and set a trial date for September 21. Manning faces up to life imprisonment for allegedly leaking classified documents that ended up on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Also, yesterday Amy Goodman interrupted the broadcast to receive a call from Mumia Abu-Jamal, calling from the Pennsylvania prison in which he was moved into the general population — after 30 years on death row — in late 2011. Tuesday was Abu-Jamal’s 58th birthday, and protests were held at the Department of Justice calling for the Attorney General to open a probe into his case.

Supporters have long argued that racism by the trial judge and prosecutors led to Abu-Jamal’s conviction for the killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal notes that during his trial a court reporter overheard the judge in his case, Judge Albert F. Sabo, say in his chambers, “I’m going to help them fry the nigger.” It’s a detail that has long been ignored in his appeals over the years.

Abu-Jamal now lives in a bigger cell than what he’s referred to as the “small dog cage” of the last three decades, but calls the life sentence “a slow death row. It’s bigger in terms of the time differential, but it’s slow death row, to be sure.” In the second part of the phone call, Abu-Jamal and Goodman speak with Danny Glover, who was in the Democracy Now! studio. They discuss Thurgood Marshall, Trayvon Martin, and the fact that the last time Abu-Jamal was able to call Goodman on the show 15 years ago, a guard ripped the phone from the wall to cut the call short.

You can read prior Planet Waves coverage of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case here. On Dec. 17, 2011, Eric wrote about Bradley Manning’s chart in this post.

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