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Supreme Court wants fresh look at ex Black Panther's death penalty

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-19

The US Supreme Court has ordered that the decision not to execute ex-Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, be reconsidered. A Pennsylvania appeals court had previously overturned the former radio journalist's death sentence.

AFP - The US Supreme Court ordered Tuesday a lower court to reconsider its decision not to execute ex-Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal for murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

"The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals," the highest court in the United States said in its ruling.

The death penalty sentence of Black Panther-turned human rights campaigner Abu-Jamal, 55, was overturned in March 2008, after his conviction for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner.

A three-member Pennsylvania appeals court voted two-to-one to overturn the former radio journalist's death sentence, automatically commuting his sentence to life in prison.

But the US Supreme Court order a new court review of the case following an appeal by prosecutors and a decision last week in a separate case in the state of Ohio, in which the death penalty verdict against another inmate was upheld.

Abu-Jamal has always claimed his innocence while on death row for some 28 years. While in prison he has become a leading crusader against the death penalty.

Abu-Jamal was serving as the president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists at the time of his arrest. He was a founding member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panther Party as a teenager.

The Black Panther Party was a Leftist African-American organization from the 1960s and 70s established to promote black power and self-defense.

Date created : 2010-01-19